Is Country Radio Rigged? Bobby Bones Claims “Half of Number One Songs Aren’t Legitimate”

is country radio rigged
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is country radio rigged
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Photo Credit: Katherine Hanlon

Country radio DJ Bobby Bones says popular country music is rigged and based heavily on politics.

“Here’s the truth about number one songs on the radio – it’s basically politics,” Bones says on TikTok. “They trade them out like baseball cards. A record label will talk to another record label and go, ‘Okay, I’ll give you this number one on this date, you give me that number one on that date.’ Which really, it should just be the song that’s the most wanted, the most listened to, the song that people demand. That should be the only number one song.”

Bobby Bones also called out the practice of using bots to boost iTunes sales. He also ripped into awards shows and explained what he calls ‘strategic manipulation’ of block voting at these award shows. Bones says the ‘politics’ he’s referring to are entirely those of the label.

“For example, a Luke Combs song could be at number one for ten weeks, but because of politics, the label will go, “ah let’s let somebody else get in that spot’ and they’ll move Luke Combs to number two, and he’ll sit there for a few weeks.”

“So when you hear someone talk about a number one song, I would say half of them aren’t legitimate number one songs,” Bones concludes.

He also used the time to rip into the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association Awards.

“Let’s say you word for Record Label A, which has 3,000 people that works there and they have an artist up for entertainer of the year. Record Label B has 250 people that work there and they have an artist up for entertainer of the year.”

“Well, Record Label A organizes everyone to block vote, so those thousands of votes go to their artists, and then Record Label B, that doesn’t have near the number of workers or voters, are screwed unless they get votes from everybody else. Bloc voting is not illegal.”

Both the CMA and ACM told Billboard that they have restrictions in place to phobit block voting. the CMA caps all companies in terms of their voting members, so larger companies cannot manipulate the vote in the way Bones suggests.

The organization says it also works with its accounting firm to review voting patterns to determine if block voting has occurred. If it has, those members are eliminated. The ACM caps corporate accounts at 100 total members, regardless of the number of employees.

19 Responses

  1. DJ Joke

    Newsflash – all radio is rigged by payola, tradeouts, marketing schemes and false charts. Apparently Bones didn’t get the memo that was sent out decades ago.

  2. Tony Gottlieb

    It’s shocking to learn that something as important as the popular music recording charts are run as poorly as our public-health data systems.

  3. Honest Andy

    Yes it is, just listen to the crap music! 100 fixed by record labels. Just a $$ transaction and a shitty country song and you too could have a #1 at country radio

  4. Tom Hendricks

    What is not mentioned in this is that there’s a peaceful music revolution against this, that author King won’t talk about.
    But I will, without fear, thousands of musicians are in the peaceful music revolution against the Big 3 Labels that control the music industry, prop up the same tired 10 pop stars year after year, and block out all new music?
    Music should be more than a marketing ploy for 3 mega labels.

  5. Girl You Know It's True

    I agree with Bobby Bones.

    Charts are all a scam. It’s been that way forever.

    Awards shows have always been rigged.

    Corporate media wants you think that the music you’ve been told to like is relevant.

    All controversies are manufactured corporate warfare.

  6. David Parker

    All I see from the people replying are accusations!
    If you know specifics how the so-called chart scam runs please share it with all of us?
    Have any of you commenting ever worked at these labels? If so please give us specifics and not just reckless accusations.

    • Jenny Bermuda

      I’ve worked at NARAS, BMG and Uni, as well as with many, many radio folks and the whole system is a promotional machine. Charts and (most) awards are pre-scheduled to fit the needs of commerce. Do your research, David, as all the stories and facts are out there. I’m not sure what you are looking for people on this site to tell you that would lead you to a conclusion. I know from experience.

      • Giovanni Nutzitch

        Ok, now put your hairnet back on and tend to those fries.

      • Red Delaney

        Accusations are totally baseless without accurate facts to back up your allegations!
        Please expound on your experience! And be specific please!
        You are anonymous here!

        • JB

          Exactly what “facts” would you like to hear that you won’t dispute or say more information is needed?

    • UFOs are Real

      David, just ask anybody who ever worked for HITS magazine. You’re funny.

  7. A reader

    Need some real evidence. Does digital music news want to do some real journalism or are some dudes words enough?

    • Giovanni Nutzitch

      Who cares? I am just here for Ashley King’s yummy photo, if you know what I mean.

      • Angelito

        Different name, same stupid comments. Hey, you’re consistent.

  8. Music Fan

    So, if an indie label artist wins a few Grammies and Americana Music Association awards for record of the year, song and artist of the year but is completely ignored or barely tolerated by the Country music establishment and not given any radio airplay on “mainstream Country radio”… (Jason Isbell) what does that tell us with regards to this article’s assertion?

  9. JAS

    …and in other news, the sky is blue and snow is cold….

    excerpt from the file labeled ‘things everyone already knows’