‘Billboard’ 200 Albums Chart To Incorporate Streaming, Digital

Screen shot 2014-11-20 at 10.37.32 AM11The Billboard 200 albums chart will evolve from only counting album sales to also including on-demand streaming and digital track sales. The publication reports this change will provide a more accurate representation of an album’s popularity by reflecting overall consumption activity.

The company will continue to use the former Billboard 200 methodology to compute the Top Album Sales chart and existing genre album charts (Country, etc.).

According to Billboard, “The updated Billboard 200 will utilize accepted industry benchmarks for digital and streaming data, equating 10 digital track sales from an album to one equivalent album sale, and 1,500 song streams from an album to one equivalent album sale. All of the major on-demand audio subscription services are considered, including Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play and Xbox Music.”

Billboard VP of charts and data development Silvio Pietroluongo said, “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.”

The revamped Billboard 200 chart will debut online Dec. 4, and appear in the Dec. 13 print magazine. It will include data from the shopping-heavy Thanksgiving week, ending Nov. 30.

Jim Urie, president/CEO of Universal Music Distribution, and Darren Stupak, executive vice president of U.S. Sales and Distribution, Sony Music Entertainment, offered positive reactions to the changes.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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