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Variety.com reports that music industry revenue is down 25% as a whole, mostly from a lack of touring income. Having half of the evaluation year wiped out from a performing and touring standpoint, the list-makers will have to determine placement in an industry dealing with radically-altered listening and buying habits. Yes, new music is still being released, but the opportunities for young, unestablished artists to release a breakout work are harder without the benefit of touring or filming all but the most basic performance videos.
Being produced by Billboard, the the top of list is determined historically in large part by metrics of recent sales and streaming figures, as well as published reports of upcoming releases or other activities. But for the potential new entrants to the list (usually some of the lower rankings and sometimes purely speculative), missing out on being an opening act for an established artist or blowing up on the festival circuit this past summer hurts their overall chances.
So where does this leave Grace? As an existing entrant on the previous year’s list (as well as the preceding three years), she has the benefit of inertia in the current musical landscape. While Letters Vol. 1 did not chart as her previous releases did, her overall careeer streaming numbers (using whatever method Billboard uses for totals) for her entire catalog have remained strong. Billboard’s entry for Grace in the last two lists mentioned Stargirl, now in the rear-view mirror. But planned release of Letters Vol. 2 at some future date is a consideration in her favor, as well as her having been booked for several high-profile, and currently postponed, festval dates.
In the end, we will have to wait and see for the results, and live with the outcome. Making the list doesn’t affect much except bragging rights (and being a five-time member is brag-worthy), but not being on the list, if one comes out, isn’t career-ending either. Good things are ahead for Grace either way.