Home Sign O’ The Times: Billboard Adds Online Streaming Data to Charts

Sign O’ The Times: Billboard Adds Online Streaming Data to Charts

Interesting news tidbit today that Billboard is adding online music streaming to its ‘algorithm’ for compiling the Weekly Billboard Top 100. As a Gen X person who grew up listening to the weekly American Top 40 (by Casey Kasem and then Shadoe Stevens), this struck a chord with me. According to the press release, in the new Billboard Hot 100 formula, radio audience will average about 55% of the chart’s total points, digital sales will account for about 40%, and streaming media will determine 5%. In a further sign of the times, physical singles – “in line with the music industry’s retreat from that product over the past decade” – will account for less than 1% of the chart’s new formula.

Specifically, the 5% will be streamed and on-demand music data from AOL Music and Yahoo! Music. They are also looking to include other sources, such as Rhapsody. According to Billboard, digital delivery began playing an important role in the chart’s composition in February 2005 – when they factored in the sale of digital tracks, “as measured by Nielsen SoundScan from a comprehensive panel of online merchants.”

An even better sign of the times will occur when radio audience drops below digital sales and streaming, which I think isn’t too far off. Radio audience will always mean the charts will be middle-of-the-road (think Michael Bolton) and biased (who knows what deals are done behind the scenes), whereas the online medium brings with it much better measurement of what music people are really tuning into. It will still be open to gaming – you only need to look at some prominent blogs to realise that the page view model is being swindled big time. Even so, I am looking forward to the day when online music accounts for 60-70% of the Billboard charts. Perhaps I might even tune back into The Top 40 at that point 😉 Nowadays I hardly ever listen to radio – it’s all last.fm and my iPod. You guessed it, the 5%.

Via PaidContent.org

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