The Billboard 200 goes Streaming
The new Madonna album will compete in a completely different US albums chart, as Billboard will introduce a huge change with the chart that goes live on December 4th, 2014, when positions will not only be counted by the units sold but will also include live streams.
In the new formula the Billboard 200 albums chart will collect data from 1,500 Nielsen SoundScan streaming sources including Spotify, Beats and Google Playin addition to “track equivalent albums” counting ten total song downloads as an album sale.
Billboard has been tweaking their chart formats recently – with YouTube streaming data being counted to the Hot 100 singles last year – a change that clearly reflects the transition in the music industry. With the new format Billboard now hope to reflect the success of an album in a more accurate way and correct the split between the album and singles chart.
Charts editor Silvio Pietroluongo explained the new move in an interview with the New York Times:
We were always limited to the initial impulse, when somebody purchased an album. Now we have the ability to look at that engagement and gauge the popularity of an album over time.
David Bakula, senior analyst at Nielsen SoundScan, agrees:
Album sales have become a smaller and smaller part of the industry, to just look at album sales and say this is how we measure success is really leaving out that half of the business that is coming from streams and song sales.