Ask Billboard: Madonna – DANCING QUEEN

Ask Billboard: Madonna


Hi Gary,

While I enjoyed Tuesday’s Chart Beat column on Madonna and her Dance/Club Play Songs dominance, it made me wonder where the data for this chart comes from. Can you please tell me how this specialized chart is created each week? And, is radio airplay or sales included?

Thanks, and keep up the good work,

Tom Frank

Hi Tom,

Madonna notching her 40th No. 1, “Celebration,” on Dance/Club Play Songs is an extraordinary achievement. Even Madonna seems to ‘cherish’ the honor, as evidenced on her official website.

Billboard’s Dance/Club Play Songs chart is one of the few surveys in our menu that is not based on Nielsen SoundScan point-of-sale data or BDS-monitored airplay. Such methodology would be almost impossible for the chart, which is compiled from reports submitted by club DJs, many of whom spin and mix at multiple venues.

Sales and airplay do not contribute to Dance/Club Play Songs. Rather, Billboard compiles charts for that data separately: Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot Dance Airplay (each viewable at

As Billboard’s dance charts manager, Gordon Murray, can attest to, the dance community is a tight-knit one, and the DJs contributing to the Dance/Club Play Songs chart take great pride in their responsibility to help shape a format that’s so unique; unlike pop, adult, rock, R&B or country, for example, there are few dance-oriented radio stations (San Francisco’s KNGY just defected to mainstream top 40 last week), so club play is a key barometer of the format’s trends.

I posed your question to Gordon, and here is his deeper analysis of Dance/Club Play Songs:

“The chart is compiled from the playlists of a carefully screened and consistently scrutinized panel of U.S. club DJs (currently 140), even those in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. These playlists are reflective of what the DJs are playing to crowds on the dance floors each week in clubs. Because of the nature of this type of music, which is often mixed together and which can include many different remixes of the same song, there is no means of compiling the data electronically.

As for Madonna, her achievement is particularly noteworthy because of the changing nature of club tastes and styles of music. What becomes mainstream popular music often starts out as more underground music, played first in the clubs before it is accepted by radio’s larger audiences. So, for one artist to be able to change with the times and perhaps even set the trends to the extent that she has is, indeed, truly remarkable.


Hi Gary,

Thanks so much for running down the amazing chart feats by one of the world’s most ‘celebrated’ artists! Out of curiosity, how many of Madonna’s Dance/Club Play Songs tracks peaked at No. 3, since you noted that her first two entries reached that level? Better yet, how many stopped just short of No. 1, peaking at No. 2? I recall that “Miles Away” was her most recent No. 2 earlier this year.

Thanks again!

Jackson David Kelly

Hi Jackson,

In addition to her 40 Dance/Club Play Songs No. 1s, Madonna has sent six other titles into the top three, including “Miles Away”:

No. 2 (four weeks), “Human Nature” (1995)
No. 2 (two weeks), “Miles Away” (2009)
No. 3, “Everybody” (1982)
No. 3, “Burning Up/Physical Attraction” (1983)
No. 3, “Dress You Up” (1985)
No. 3, “Buenos Aires” (1997)

Now you’ve got me curious, too, so let’s expand our scope to Madonna’s entire discography on the survey. After her 40 No. 1s, two No. 2s and four No. 3s, here are how her other 10 entries have fared, listed by peak rank:

No. 4, “Borderline (1984)
No. 4, “Papa Don’t Preach” (1986)
No. 4, “Nobody Knows Me” (2003)
No. 5, “GHV2 Megamix” (2002)
No. 6, “True Blue” (1986)
No. 6, “Rescue Me” (1991)
No. 9, “Mother and Father” (2005)
No. 16, “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” (1996)
No. 41, “Sky Fits Heaven” (1998)
No. 44, “Who’s That Girl (Remix)” (1987)


Posted on October 2, 2009, in Charts, Madonna, Music and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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