Blame/Thank Taylor Swift.
Billboard’s top 200 album chart’s seeing its biggest change in over two decades. Starting Dec. 3, Billboard’s including on-demand STREAMING and digital track sales.
“Adding streaming information makes the chart a better representation of music consumption activity,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, VP of charts and data development at Billboard. “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.”
It’s the inevitable next step in music. In fact, I’m surprised it wasn’t incorporated sooner!
“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,” says David Bakula, SVP Industry Insights, Nielsen Entertainment. “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.”
“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,” said Darren Stupak, executive vice president of U.S. Sales and Distribution, Sony Music Entertainment. “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.”
The new chart will include sales from Thanksgiving week, one of the most active weeks in music throughout the entire year.