Music

Billboard Explains: When Older Songs Become New Hits


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From dances and movies to TikToks, songs now more than ever have the unique ability to find new lives on the Billboard charts. But what are the rules for a song’s re-entry?

Any song is allowed to re-enter the Billboard charts, but with a few conditions: The track in question must crack the top 50 of a respective chart and needs to have a meaningful reason for doing so. Songs that qualify for a re-entry generally see a resurgence due to dance trends, appearances in a film or trending sounds on TikTok.

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Examples of this include Lizzo‘s hit single “Truth Hurts,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in September 2019 — despite its release two years prior — after being featured in Netflix’s Someone Great. Ghost Town DJ’s also saw a bump when their 1995 song “My Boo” was used for a viral dance challenge in 2016; the track peaked at No. 29 on the Hot 100 that year, besting its previous No. 31 chart position in 1995. And Fleetwood Mac‘s “Dreams” received the TikTok treatment in 2020 thanks to a viral video of a man skateboarding while drinking cranberry juice, with the 1977 song used for the sound. The clip brought Fleetwood Mac back to the top 40 for the first time in 30 years.

Chart re-entries cannot be discussed without mentioning the seasons, where artists such as Mariah Carey (“All I Want for Christmas Is You”), Michael Jackson (“Thriller”) and The Neighborhood (“Sweater Weather”) see respective boosts as the year passes. If a song is great, it can enjoy success for years beyond its initial release.

After the video, catch up on more Billboard Explains videos and learn about SXSW, the magic of boy bandsAmerican Music Awards, the Billboard Latin Music Awards, the Hot 100 charthow R&B/hip-hop became the biggest genre in the U.S.how festivals book their lineupsBillie Eilish’s formula for success, the history of rap battlesnonbinary awareness in musicthe Billboard Music Awardsthe Free Britney movementrise of K-pop in the U.S.why Taylor Swift is re-recording her first six albumsthe boom of hit all-female collaborationshow Grammy nominees and winners are chosenwhy songwriters are selling their publishing catalogshow the Super Bowl halftime show is booked and why Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” was able to shoot to No. 1 on the Hot 100.

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