Billboard to include streaming listens from Apple’s Beats Music, others in album sales

“Streaming music services like Spotify have brought big changes to the music industry. But one important part of the business has not kept up: Billboard’s album chart,” Ben Sisario reports for The New York Times.

“Now Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, the agency that supplies its data, will start adding streams and downloads of tracks to the formula behind the Billboard 200, which, since 1956 has functioned as the music world’s weekly scorecard,” Sisario reports. “It is the biggest change since 1991, when the magazine began using hard sales data from SoundScan, a revolutionary change in a music industry that had long based its charts on highly fudgeable surveys of record stores.”

“The new chart, covering sales and listening from Monday to Nov. 30, will be revealed on Billboard’s website on Dec. 4 and published in print in its Dec. 13 issue. Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s director of charts, said that by looking at streams as well as sales, the new chart will more accurately reflect how people listen to music these days,” Sisario reports. “SoundScan and Billboard will count 1,500 song streams from services like Spotify, Beats Music, Rdio, Rhapsody and Google Play as equivalent to an album sale. For the first time, they will also count ‘track equivalent albums’ — a common industry yardstick of 10 downloads of individual tracks — as part of the formula for album rankings on the Billboard 200.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. Yesterday, I tried listing to the 100 Alternative tracks from Spotify, because I couldn’t get iTunes Radio to play their Weekly Top 50 Alternative channel. I guess it’s our firewall to blame.

    My point. I was disappointed with the mix, which had a lot more metal than I like. It didn’t sound like Alternative. It was really a bad aggregation of tracks for what I was expecting. I plan on given them the cold shoulder for a while.

    Happy to say iTunes radio is working for me today. My believe is that iTunes Radio and Beats should be to sides of the same product. I am very exited for what’s to come.

    1. The genres that iTunes uses are useless. “Alternative” to what? Moreover, with American “Country” (as opposed to the other 200+ countries on the planet) now sounding exactly like “Classic” rock from the late ’70s, it’s a struggle to use Apple’s genres effectively. If an “Indie” band sighs to a big label, does that band’s independent releases now move over to the mainstream categories or do they remain in the lost miscellaneous garage rock/pop/electronica/oddball bin?

      Is there a reason Apple couldn’t add subgenre tags to music to denote if it’s acoustic, live, or a demo track? Radio edit single or full album version?

      What about dance genre? Some people really care if it’s a cha-cha versus a waltz.

      Why don’t iTunes files have all the metadata fields correctly filled in, with BPM, composer, and the actual original release album and date? it’s a slap in the face to both artists and collectors to tell everyone that a track re-released as part of a collection was dated on the collection date rather than on the actual original recording release date.

      Making everyone a music renter doesn’t improve any of this, it only makes things worse. Because now when you subscribe to whatever genre Apple thinks you want to listen to, Apple will get it just as wrong as any other stupid music streaming service.

      My recommendation: own your music files and curate your own music. When you make your playlists, you will be able to get it right. You’ll also be able to do it quickly and painlessly with really great metatagging, whether you are in the mood to hear tracks produced my T Bone Burnette or whether you’re in the mood for Stax soul from the first half of the 60’s, or if you just want to hear covers of Carole King compositions, or if you want to hear only Detroit-recorded Motown hits backed by the Funk Brothers instead of the later LA-recorded, overproduced Motown stuff.

      None of Apple’s services, sadly, give you information or intelligent management over your music. You have to do it yourself the old fashioned way as Steve Jobs envisioned iTunes to work — “people want to own their music”, and use podcasts for new music discovery and for artists to directly connect with the public. You know, like Jonathan Coulton’s epic “thing a week” podcasts. It’s lame that since his death, iTunes isn’t getting better about making it obvious or more user friendly to do this, iTunes just keeps getting more bloated, greyed out, and harder to use. Not that any other music service cares either. They all want you to sign up for subscriptions and listen to whatever corporate crap they released this month.

      1. I agree with everything you wrote. I used to spend a lot more time, years ago, curating my music, but it’s just too much work for me. I have to say that finding something like a Hendrix cut from 1969 shown as 2003, when the compilation was put together, has always been a pet peeve of mine too. It’s the sort of thing that discouraged me from curating. It’s always a WTF moment.

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