The Billboard 200, the decades-old standard for measuring the top albums in the country, is going to begin acknowledging that people use the internet to listen to music these days.
According to a report in the New York Times, in a couple weeks Billboard will unveil a new top 200 albums chart covering November 30 to December 4. This chart will, for the first time, include data from streaming and downloads – meaning services like Spotify, Beats Music, and Google Play will now help determine which artists take the top spots on a weekly basis.
Years ago, Billboard began looking at online data when compiling its Hot 100 chart and last year they even began taking YouTube views into account. But the Hot 100 measures individual songs and the Billboard 200 measures albums. It's tricker to use data from, let's say Spotify, to measure the success of an album – than it is to measure the success of a single track.
Apparently, Billboard has decided on a formula. From the NYT:
SoundScan and Billboard will count 1,500 song streams from services like Spotify, Beats Music, Rdio, Rhapsody and Google Play as equivalent to an album sale. For the first time, they will also count “track equivalent albums” — a common industry yardstick of 10 downloads of individual tracks — as part of the formula for album rankings on the Billboard 200.
Sounds interesting, if not a bit arbitrary. I wonder how Taylor Swift feels about all of this?
Image via Billboard.com