Following in-depth dialog with industry contacts, Billboard is altering the name of our Folk Albums chart to Americana/Folk Albums. The change will take effect with the chart to post Tuesday, May 24 (dated June 4 and reflecting sales data, according to Nielsen Music, in the week ending May 19).
The change recognizes the growth of Americana music and the prominent rise of the term Americana overall, both within the industry and in widespread music coverage. Among acts likely to continue to be a presence on the retooled Americana/Folk Albums chart include The Lumineers, Sturgill Simpson, James Bay,Margo Price and Jason Isbell.
Criteria for the content of the Americana/Folk Albums chart (which will continue to run 25-titles deep and be based on weekly sales) will largely remain the same, as certain core Americana titles have gradually been appearing on the list over the past year. The chart will spotlight that creatively fertile middle ground generally considered to bridge country and rock: organic, roots and acoustic-based groups and solo singer-songwriters (with greater consideration than before for chart eligibility given to acts leaning more Americana than folk).
"I'm thrilled that Billboard has acknowledged our community with the Americana/Folk Albums chart," says Jed Hilly, Americana Music Association executive director. "This is important. It establishes, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the importance of Americana music in our industry and [its] relevance in the ever-changing artistic landscape.
"Americana is, today, a vital and great American art form. I couldn't be happier to see this recognition."
"Americana has become an important genre, because it's really where the artistic side of the roots music community has congregated," says David Macias, president of Thirty Tigers, whose marketing, distribution and management services have sparked success stories for artists including Isbell, The Avett Brothers, The Jayhawks and Lucinda Williams.
"Commercial country is great, but it's really turned into a pop format. They used to be able to accommodate artists like Dwight Yoakam and The Mavericks, but they don't seem to be able to any longer. An incredible business community has coalesced around these types of artists and has created mediums that support these artists, many of whom have become very successful," Macias adds.
"Billboard's recognition of the genre is appropriate and appreciated by all of us doing business in the Americana world."
Original post on billboard.com.