Thursday, March 22, 2012

Billboard Hot 100 lists to count on-demand streaming

Billboard's been tracking the popularity of music for decades, first looking at sales, and then for some of their charts (like the Hot 100) adding in radio plays.  Now, in recognition of the growth of on-demand music streaming, its going to factor those choices into the mix.
  Specifically, Billboard is going to include information from the Nielsen BDS monitoring of streaming activity for its On-Demand Songs chart, and also factor those into its premium Hot 100 chart. With the rise of a number of subscription on-demand streaming services (like Spotify), and Cloud-based streaming from personal music collections, Billboard argues that this is a growing and significant component of the music market that can't be ignored if you're truly seeking to measure the popularity of songs and artists.
  Some numbers from the Nielsen BDS give an indication of how big music streaming is - in the first 70 days of 2012, more than 4.5 billion audio streams were tracked, growing to a record 625 million ilast week.  Compare that to the average 2.5-5 million online song purchases per week during 2011.
"The methodology behind all of the Billboard charts is ever-evolving to incorporate new technologies and the emerging ways consumers listen to and buy music" said Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard's director of charts. "Accounting for an interactive medium such as streaming, both in the Hot 100 chart and the On-Demand Songs chart, provides an even more accurate gauge of the songs that are truly the most popular in the country."
  Of course, not everyone is happy with the move - mostly feeling that on-demand metrics might dilute current radio plays and sales numbers with older favorites.  On the other hand, I'm old enough to remember that Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon remained on Billboard's weekly Top LP chart for 15 years, without much complaint from music companies or the radio industry.  Besides, Billboard's got lots of charts, and most don't include on-demand streaming... yet.
  Still, Billboard's creation of new focused charts and inclusion of on-demand streaming in its Hot 100 chart can be seen as a recognition of the growth and impact of this newer distribution system for music..

Source -  Hot 100 Impacted by New On-Demand Songs ChartBillboard


  1. Billboard’s newest venture to include online streaming when announcing the most played songs is brilliant. I have never thought about that until reading this post. It makes so much sense; there is an entire medium for obtaining music that is completely unaccounted for. Audiences, artist and producers will have a much more accurate read on how popular current songs are. I understand the concerns and negativity this new venture has received; however all new ideas meet some sort of criticism at some point. Don’t be discouraged, Billboard, this is a great idea.

  2. For more information this article was in usatoday:

  3. I think that is a great idea. Streaming music is growing and only getting larger. Taking this into consideration is going to give more depth to the top 100 by opening a younger population that solely streams there music. I agree with the US News article linked "streaming music is now mainstream" it's time to have that displayed in the BillBoard Top 100. - Rachel Cade

  4. This is definitely a great idea.

    There are songs on the radio that I absolutely love, but they don't play a whole lot, so I tend to listen to them more at home.

    While I was reading that, I was thinking about the fact that sometimes I sit down with Grooveshark or another on-demand music site and I put some Top-40 type songs into my queue, but I also tend to listen to old music like the Eagles, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, Hall and Oates, etc. I think it would be really interesting to see how the demand is for older music based on what people are streaming. Is it influenced more when an older song is used in a popular movie or commercial? Do Americans tend to listen to cranky break-up music around Valentine's day? I think that could be a really interesting study on how music influences America. What's the oldest song that's most often requested by a generation who typically doesn't listen to old music? Knowing and tracking things like that could be fascinating.

  5. I agree with Beth. I think it would be a fantastic idea! I personally listen to a lot of Aerosmith, U2, Stevie Wonder, and other classic artists that you don't hear too often on the radio outside of Jack FM. I think it would also maybe influence current artists today by allowing them to realize that not everyone wants to listen to the same recycled club songs (much of which I have a lot of trouble telling the difference between because they sound so similar) and push them to come out with something not so over-produced and "plastic". And Beth was right about the endless possibilities that could happen with gauging music popularity from on-demand streams. Although, yes, it is quite a bit "Big Brother"-ish, but so is Facebook and just about any other social medium out there, so I think the public would respond well to it.

  6. I appreciate Billboard for taking this step. It is the next logical move to make when it comes to tracking music sales and popularity. In fact, I feel that it could possibly give a clearer representation of what people are listening to and want to listen to.

    If Billboard was only to measure song popularity by radio airplay, it would completely discount ways in which the consumer directly chooses to listen to a certain song, artist or genre. When consumers pay a monthly fee to use services such as Spotify, it gives a keen insight into exactly what those consumers taste are and how tastes are evolving. If a consumer is willing to shell out $10 a month to choose music, wouldn't that be a better indication of popularity than listening to a station that the consumer can't control?

  7. This is the only real move here that makes sense. I commend Billboard for moving with the times and documenting and keeping score with the real game these days, and that is how many times songs are streamed and viewed.
    Radio airplay, as Chad pointed out, is flawed in how consumers listen to the music they want to listen to. Someone may like a genre of music, but if it is a song we are trying to rank here, then we need to focus on how many times it is played by means of media that allows it to be streamed or downloaded, not a station that plays many songs with it.
    Props, Billboard, this is a great way to rank new music.