For over 125 years, Billboard was basing its impactful 200 album chart on numbers of CDs, vinyl LPs or tapes that were sold at stores. On December 13, Billboard announced that YouTube streams will be included in the chart, as well as video streams from other platforms such as Apple, Spotify, Tidal, and VEVE.
Billboard has been shifting from being purely sales-based to a “multi-metric consumption” model since 2013, when video streams have been incorporated into many song-specific charts. “It’s an important part of music consumption, and it’s time to recognize that,” said Deanna Brown, the president of the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, “Our decision to add YouTube and other video streaming data to our album charts reflects the continuing evolution of the music consumption market and the ways in which consumers connect to album-related content.”
However, the 200 album chart and its streams will be counted slightly different than other Billboard’s charts. While song-specific charts consider official videos, and user-generated content such as lyrics videos, karaoke, and dancing/choreography videos, the 200 album chart will be influenced only by “officially licensed video content uploaded by or on behalf of rights holders.”
Even if only official videos are counted, undoubtedly YouTube’s streams will be a gamechanger for artists that are featured in the charts. Since launched in 2005, YouTube has built a streaming empire with currently 1.9 billion logged-in monthly users in 91 countries.
According to Brandwatch, in 2018 95% of the most-watched videos were music videos which will heavily influence Billboard’s album chart. Just to mention that the video with the highest number of views is currently the music video for ‘Despacito’ by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, and it has over 6.5 billion views (!).
Pitchfork says, “According to research, 55% of online music streamers use YouTube, while the rest of the platforms have 37% of the market.”
Shocking statistics like these above expose how far YouTube has come and what type of influence it exerts over what people listen to.
The big changes kick into effect next month with the charts dated Jan. 18, 2020, which will reflect sales and streams for Jan. 3-9.
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