Billboard Makes Major Change To Their Billboard 200 Albums Chart

On December 3rd, Billboard will be making its first major upgrade to the Billboard 200 Albums Chart in 23 years – it will move towards measuring “multi-metric consumption” and include data from on-demand streaming and digital track sales, measured by Nielsen Entertainment, in their rankings [Billboard Biz]. According to Billboard, this is the first major change to their methodology since switching to Nielsen’s SoundScan data in May 1991 [Billboard Biz].

The Billboard 200 has traditionally included only data from sales, but the algorithm will now incorporate on-demand streaming data and digital track sales in order to get the bigger picture surrounding consumption of an album, rather than solely sales. They’ll be using industry benchmarks for both digital and streaming data.

This means that:

  • 10 digital track sales from an album = 1 album sale
  • 1,500 song streams = 1 equivalent album sale

Furthermore, the data will be collected from all of the major streaming services – Spotify, Beats, Google Play, Xbox Music, etc. The article in Billboard provides the following quote from a company representative:

“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.” [Billboard Biz]

The first Billboard 200 chart to incorporate this new data will cover the week of November 30, and will be published on December 4.

Read more: