Country radio DJ and TV personality Bobby Bones makes his living telling fans like it is, and lately, he’s been calling out the country-music establishment.
In a TikTok video posted on Monday (August 30), the nationally-syndicated star spoke up more directly than ever, saying about half of all Number One songs in country music are fakes.
“Here’s the truth about Number One songs on the radio: It’s basically politics,” Bones said, strolling through a sunny park in a clip that had more than 36,000 likes a day later. “They trade them out like baseball cards. A record label will talk to another record label and go ‘Ok, 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.”
Bones has been vocal for years about his status as an industry “outsider,” and has often spoken up about some of its shadier aspects — especially in Nashville’s notoriously intertwined major label system. But lately, it seems like the American Idol mentor and former Dancing With the Stars champ has stepped up his efforts. He also called out unnamed artists for using “bots” to boost iTunes sales, and explained what he called the “strategic manipulation” of block voting at awards shows.
Back on the Number One topic, Bones didn’t point to any undeserving hits, but did reference a few artists who get shafted by the process he describes.
“For example, a Luke Combs song could be Number One for 10 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,” Bones said. “The same thing with like a Maren Morris.
“So when you hear someone talk about a Number One song, I would say half of them aren’t legitimate Number One songs,” he went on. “They had to be good to get into the Top 10 — there’s a lot of research done into these songs. But when it gets to be a Number One song, it’s just people going ‘Ok I’ll give you this, you give me that.’ It’s everybody trying to create as many Number Ones as possible, ‘cuz everything’s the same, everybody get’s a participation trophy at Number One. What is happening!”
Elsewhere, Bobby Bones explained more of the practices that push songs up the radio charts (and why they suddenly go away after hitting Number One), likening his videos to a magician revealing how tricks are done. He noted that if his videos end up disappearing, it’s because “someone” told him to take them down. “But so far, so good. I haven’t been threatened with anything yet.”
Luke Bryan’s “Waves” is the current Number One song on Billboard’s Country Airplay radio chart, and it follows a string of one-week chart toppers which include Justin Moore’s “We Didn’t Have Much,” Dan + Shay’s “Glad You Exist” and Chase Rice’s “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” (featuring Florida Georgia Line). Luke Combs had a six-week Number One with “Forever After All” early this summer, and the song that took its place was Chris Young and Kane Brown’s “Famous Friends.”