non-u.s. artists billboard record

U.S. Hot 100 hits a record streak of nine #1 hits by non-American-born artists

The Billboard chart measuring the top singles in America hasn't had an American single at #1 since July.

- Feb 24, 2016

With the recent release of their new double video, Rihanna and Drake have risen to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 this week. Rihanna was born in Barbados and Drake in Canada, which makes their song "Work" the ninth consecutive #1 atop the Hot 100, which ranks the top singles in the United States, by an artist born outside the United States. That's a new record for non-U.S.-born artists, beating a stretch of eight consecutive #1s set in 1985.

We've written extensively about Canada's recent dominance of the U.S. Billboard charts, and the Weeknd/Drake/Justin Bieber triumvirate are largely responsible for this U.S. draught with five out of nine of the #1s (six if you count "Work"), but this also includes "Cheerleader" by OMI (born in Jamaica), and hits from Adele and Zayn (both born in England). American-born artists haven't topped the Hot 100 since July with Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth's "See You Again."

Rihanna - Work (Explicit) ft. Drake

So what gives? Canada's chart colonization has a little to do with it, but the culprit is likely the same as why Canada was able to get atop those charts.

For one, there's Drake, whose massive success has led the way for others from Canada (and especially Toronto), including his former co-sign The Weeknd. But also the gatekeepers are no longer as regional as they once were. With streams and YouTube plays now counting towards the Billboard Hot 100, artists from all over the world are now playing on the same playing field. Where foreign acts used to have to hit a big enough boiling point to "crossover" there's now barely a line to cross.

You could also probably credit TIDAL, whose exclusive deal with Kanye West on his (unfinished?) new album The Life of Pablo and their non-reporting of streams to Nielson will keep his songs off the charts. But it'll probably keep TIDAL going for a little while longer. Hurray?

Here's the current rundown of the non-U.S.-born artist streak, along with where they're from:

Title, Weeks at No. 1, Date Reached No. 1, Artist, Country of Origin
"Cheerleader," six, July 25, 2015, OMI, Jamaica
"Can't Feel My Face," three, Aug. 22, The Weeknd, Canada
"What Do You Mean?," one, Sept. 19, Justin Bieber, Canada
"The Hills," six, Oct, 3, The Weeknd, Canada
"Hello," 10, Nov. 14, Adele, England
"Sorry," three, Jan. 23, 2016, Justin Bieber, Canada
"Love Yourself," two, Feb. 13, Justin Bieber, Canada
"Pillowtalk," one, Feb. 20, Zayn, England
"Work," one (to date), March 5, Rihanna, Barbados, feat. Drake, Canada

And for comparison's sake, here's what that record looked like in 1985:

Title, Weeks at No. 1, Date Reached No. 1, Artist, Country of Origin
"Don't You (Forget About Me)," one, May 18, Simple Minds, Scotland
"Everything She Wants," two, May 25, Wham!, England
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World," two, June 8, Tears for Fears, England
"Heaven," two, June 22, Bryan Adams, Canada
"Sussudio," one, July 6, Phil Collins, England
"A View to a Kill," two, July 13, Duran Duran, England
"Everytime You Go Away," one, July 27, Paul Young, England
"Shout," three, Aug. 3, Tears for Fears, England

Certainly a lot more red and white this time.

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