Last year Billboard factored in YouTube streams when it came to ranking individual songs. Now, they are going even further on Dec. 3. with their album ranking. Previously based off sales alone, it is now going to account for streaming and downloading music as well. The plan is to have the new chart not based off the idea of sales, but “consumption activity.”
10 digital track sales will now equal an album sale, and when a song is stream 1,500 times, that album will also be considered a sale. This includes streaming from services like Spotfiy, Beats Music, Google Play, and Xbox Music.
Billboard and other music executives had a lot to say on the matter.
Silvio Pietroluongo, VP of charts and data development at Billboard said:
Adding streaming information makes the chart a better representation of music consumption activity. While an extremely valuable measurement, album sales would mostly capture the initial impulse only, without indicating the depth of consumption thereafter. Someone could listen to the album just once, or listen to one track or a number of tracks 100 times. We are now able to incorporate those plays as part of an album consumption ranking throughout one’s possession of an album, extending beyond the initial purchase or listen.
David Bakula, SVP Industry Insights, Nielsen Entertainment said:
With current On-Demand audio play counts exceeding 100 billion so far this year, this method of consumption has redefined the way success is measured in the music industry. Nielsen’s recent Music 360 report reveals that streaming has seen substantial gains in popularity with consumers, with nearly 80 percent of music fans reporting that they have streamed music in the last six months.
Jim Urie, president/CEO of Universal Music Distribution said:
Including streaming information is the next step in the evolution of the industry’s accurate measurement of music consumption. Streaming is the fastest growing configuration we now have and having it included in Billboard’s chart is a welcome improvement.
Darren Stupack, executive vice president of U.S. Sales and Distribution, Sony Music Entertainment said:
The new methodology for the Billboard 200 is a welcome and necessary evolution of Nielsen and Billboard’s album chart data. The ways in which fans consume music, and the ways in which music is monetized, have grown beyond the traditional metrics of album sales. Music consumption in today’s marketplace is a diverse mix of access and acquisition, including on-demand streaming, track and album downloading, and physical product purchasing. The introduction of this expanded scope chart brings the Billboard 200 more closely in line with the multi-platform, multi-format experience of music fans.
Don’t worry you traditionalist, Billboard will still continue to publish charts based solely off album sales. But let us know what you think about this change in the comments below.