Billboard is changing how they calculate top albums

By Camden Mondeaux on January 10, 2020
Retro Gramophone with a vinyl record on wooden table, top view and copy space,vintage style with split toning.

By: Cami Mondeaux

Ah, it used to be so simple. Choosing the top album of the year was easy: simply choose the album with the most physical copies sold.

But, alas. We are now in the digital age, where music can be streamed from almost everywhere. So, knowing which albums and songs are actually at the top is becoming harder.

To cope, Billboard has started to consider counting things like Spotify plays and mp3 downloads. But, starting this year Billboard is beginning to also count YouTube streaming numbers.

It’s all part of the shift from the number of albums sold to the number of minutes spent listening and engaging with the content.

So, why add YouTube?

Well, according to an NPR interview with Chris Molanphy, a chart analyst and pop critic at Slate, YouTube makes up a large amount of any given music genre’s audience. By adding YouTube into the mix, you get a more realistic view of which songs and albums are actually performing the best.

It’s important to note Billboard isn’t just changing the way music consumption should be measured — its just reflecting how consumption has already changed.

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