Streaming has revolutionlised the way music is consumed and has had a transformative effect on the industry at large.
And while this had a positive impact (such as empowering independent artists), there’s been ample critique.
Some of the most prominent problems critics have pointed out include the questionable royalty payouts to artists and the uniform weighting of plays from free and paid for platforms.
Billboard, the official US chart body, have listened and are introducing major changes.
Find out more below…
From June 29th, plays on paid subscription-based services (such as Apple Music and Amazon Music) or on the paid tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported platforms (such as Spotify and SoundCloud) will be given more weight in chart calculations than plays on free ad-supported services (such as YouTube) or the free versions of Spotify and the like.
Structurally streams will now be weighed up in tiers.
For the Billboard 200 album tally, here’s what methodology looks like:
TIER 1: paid subscription audio streams (equating 1,250 streams to 1 album unit)
TIER 2: ad-supported free audio streams (equating 3,750 streams to 1 album unit).
[*trial subscriptions will fall into TIER 1]
While for the Billboard Hot 100 singles count:
Paid Plays = The full value of the play is counted (i.e. 1 play = 1 play)
Free Plays = two third of play is counted (1 play = 0.66 plays)
The unprecedented move comes after after calls from many in the industry for greater streaming regulation and representation.
It’s also taking place after Spotify’s recent reveal that some albums will only be available on their paid tier; with it being at the artist’s discretion as to whether it’s for the initial launch window or in perpetuity.
This stands to be a major win for musicians – especially the heavy hitters, many of whom have taken turns shunning a full embrace of streaming (see: Beyonce, Adele, Taylor Swift).
More broadly, it’ll almost certainly see labels have a heightened focus on paid platforms in the bid for chart glory. A reality that should theoretically see artists make more from streaming revenue in the long run.
In any case, we’re all for this and feel it’s been long overdue.
Maybe just maybe, we’ll see less platform specific releases (ala ‘Lemonade’ on TIDAL) and more tier specific roll-outs – the latter of which is more of a win for fans.
Enough from us though; what are…