Billboard Announces Changes in Chart Ranking Formula [Ticket Bundles, Streaming Addressed]

Published: Thursday 19th Oct 2017 by Rashad

The last few years have seen a heightened lens placed on music streaming, on-demand services, and how they represent consumer interests.  With that, Billboard – the industry leader in ranking music consumption and song popularity – has been faced with the task of continuously updating its means of data calculation to ensure fair and accurate reporting for chart placements.

Positions on the Hot 100 (singles charts) were at one time solely comprised of radio airplay and sales (physical and digital), while the Billboard 200 (album charts) were comprised solely of sales of the whole album (physical and digital).  In 2014 (as we reported here), after stunning fans with the incorporation of certain platform streaming figures in Hot 100 placements (read more here), the Billboard 200’s placement calculation formula was updated to include album and individual track streams and individual track downloads.  As time went on, the Hot 100’s data went on to include Pandora (read more here), Soundcloud (read more here), and more.  The moves – though controversial at the onset – were reflective of streaming becoming the industry’s biggest moneymaker (read more on that here).

Now, with controversy around ticket bundling, paid streaming (i.e. Spotify, Apple Music) versus free streaming (Youtube), and more considered, the Music Bible has revealed yet another shake-up in how it will formulate what data goes into placing songs and albums on their respective charts:

Via Billboard:

“Currently, Billboard has two defined types of streaming plays for the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart (and our other hybrid songs charts): on-demand (such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube) and programmed (such as Pandora and Slacker Radio), with on-demand having a greater weight.

Beginning in 2018, plays occurring on paid subscription-based services (such as Amazon Music and Apple Music) or on the paid subscription tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported platforms (such as SoundCloud and Spotify) will be given [EVEN MORE] weight in chart calculations than those plays on pure ad-supported services (such as YouTube) or on the non-paid tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported services.

The Billboard 200 will now include two tiers of on-demand audio streams: paid subscription audio streams and ad-supported audio streams. The chart will continue to not incorporate video streams.”


In summary:

  • Ad-supported audio streams (Pandora, etc.) WILL now be included in Billboard 200 placements
  • In 2018, the streaming platforms that impact chart placements will not do so equally.  Some (paid subscription services) will have more influence than others (non-paid subscription services).
    • The services will be categorized in “weight tiers”
  • Ticket bundling – in its current format – is STILL an acceptable means of music consumption and will continue to count toward chart placements

See the full list of streaming services Billboard uses to calculate chart rankings.


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  1. ? + ✈ = ? October 19, 2017

    The charts are a mess these days

    • Fancy BISH October 19, 2017

      They really are, it’s cray cray ?

  2. Bravo!! October 19, 2017

    Beyonce all day!!

  3. B2B October 19, 2017

    Somebody’s accreditation is going bye bye by 2020

  4. Meme October 19, 2017

    I don’t understand why this is so hard for people to gasp or why its controversial. I honestly feel like the way billboard measures music performance today is the most accurate. I don’t see why people can’t understand that the masses consume music differently than they did 5 years ago. Think about how inaccurate the chart would be if they were only counting physical/digital sales. The people that actually purchase albums are probably less than 10% of all music consumers (and that’s being generous). I haven’t purchase an album since Rihanna’s unapologetic released.

    • Fancy BISH October 19, 2017

      Let me just say this…aren’t more songs going #1 that you’ve never heard or seen the artist at all? I’m not saying that never happened in the past, but these days I’m going “Whaaa?” way too many times at the #1 song

      • Meme October 19, 2017

        Yes, More songs are “performing” well on the charts that I never heard before but that is because I don’t listen to the radio and we don’t have music shows on tv anymore. Consumers go directly to the music or video they want to now thanks to YouTube and streaming. I’m not in touch with the new generation artist, but the kids eat them up. You can’t blame that on streaming. When CD’s were the thing during my teens and we use to eat up Hot boyz and bad boyz and No limit soldiers, the older folks didn’t know about that music either. But how dumb would it be if billboard only counted cassette tape and disc in sale performance when everyone was buying CD? You see where I’m coming from?

      • Fancy BISH October 19, 2017

        I feel you on that! I’m just concerned about the popularity of an artist even with streams…I mean, it’s gotten so strange that when I watch award shows I’m wondering if the AUDIENCE has seen or heard the artist! My mom knew what Master P, Puff Daddy and The Hot Boyz looked like LOL…she loved TLC, Toni, Mariah, Xscape, Monica, Brandy, Usher and the like…she knew B.I.G. lol…I really do think that fans drive streams more than the general population…like I love Abel, but even on TGJ people are like, WHO? lol…it’s just weird how one google search can give you so much awareness about an artist, but you still have to know what to search for! My mom definitely didn’t watch music videos, but she knew what our generation of artists looked like…it’s weird…but nothing is more weird than the new generation having EVERY ALBUM on Spotify and still don’t know ish lol…my GAWD

      • Jeans October 19, 2017

        Totally agree.

      • Meme October 19, 2017

        @fancy yeah it is weird. I don’t know what any of these new artist look like either. Like I know some of their names and familiar with some of the music but if you ask me to put a face to Lil Yaughty, I couldn’t tell him apart from Lil Uzi or Playboi Cardi lol. I do think this is largely because we don’t have music shows anymore. You didn’t get to choose which video played next, you just sat there and watch whatever played. I would never go in YouTube to watch a lil uzi video, therefore I would never know what he looks like, even though google is right there.

    • Theman October 20, 2017

      Wrong. It’s closer to 4 0. percent. And streaming isn’t real sales anyway. They shouldn’t be adding single streams with full album streams….

  5. TMM October 19, 2017

    Delete the Charts. Whats the use these days?

    • Meme October 19, 2017

      To track the flop of your favs. Bye

  6. Jasmine October 19, 2017

    This is a joke. All any artist needs is an automated computer program to stream their music 24/7 and their ish goes number 1. The only way the charts will be fair is if the charts reflect music that was paid for for a particular dollar amount or higher. One user account on any of the streaming services can generate millions of streams when the account is programmed to do that.

    • Meme October 19, 2017

      Did you graduate high school? You can’t be that dumb to think there isn’t prevention measures put into place to identify these types of action. If it was that easy to “program” streams and that easy to get #1 please do explain the flop of your favs. Or why more people don’t have number #1’s, since it’s sooo easy.
      You’re saying the only way to fairly track chart performance is to count sales but you do release that labels can buy there own records and many artist back in the were accused of that very thing. There will always be Glitches on the system.

      • Jasmine October 20, 2017

        Girl did you graduate high school? Are you that dumb to assume the current prevention measures are full proof? Are you that dumb to assume people who question the integruty of the charts do it because of “the flop oftheir favs”? Are you that dumb to not know what click fraud is?

        I dont know why you keep coming for me Meme. I certainly do not come for you dear.

  7. Tori October 19, 2017

    Can we just cancel the charts and determine who’s the baddest b**** and biggest stars by ticket sales? Can we really start exposing how f***** up the charts are by showing if people will actually pay to see you? Here’s the thing with streaming and buying: if someone streams your song, video or album, whether it’s paid, sub or free viewing, as an artist I would feel bad to be an artist in these times because it’s like people don’t actually care it’s just that your product is free or came with a sub to EVERY product. Having millions and billions of streams but low ticket sales, album sales and merchandise sales is honestly your fan base saying you’re good but not good enough to pay for. When people spend money that they worked 2 works for and waited another week to get ON YOU…that’s something to be proud of because they don’t have to but they honestly believe in your band. That’s why more artist are stretching their sales out over a year before putting music on streaming sites. Fans and Stan’s want to “support” for free but that’s b*******. This is the same s*** that happened when illegal downloading music was a “thing”, NOTHING is free. You have to pay for entertainment like everything else in life.

  8. S****** Blonde October 20, 2017

    Music Charts should be cancelled, it’s the only way that good mainstream music will be appreciated again, no pressures.

  9. Amie October 20, 2017

    The charts aren’t going anywhere because its the music INDUSTRY. A business. Some of you need to build that bridge and get over it.

  10. AdrianL October 20, 2017

    A mess. Billboard has lost its grip on chart tabulations and has no idea what it’s doing now. It was so much simplier when radio play and over the counter sales were what decided its ranking. All this streaming and online crap has distorted everything.

  11. MsThing485 October 20, 2017

    Who can look at Billboard’s charts now and make sense of anything about it or even recognize who these so-called “artists” are? Their system is so wonky now that it’s not even worth keeping up with. In a minute they’ll be adding retweets to the formula (and people will say “that’s just how it’s done now!”)

    Now would be a great time for another publisher to start a competing industry trade and chart; one with a less convoluted and more rational tabulation system that *only* figured in airplay and sales. I bet it would go over better than many people would think right now.

    • Electrikblue October 20, 2017

      Who’s listening to the radio?? And album sales have been down! If everyone is streaming and buying music digitally how the hell we can they keep a tally ?

  12. Casual October 20, 2017

    Bet Billboard wouldn’t have tried this ish back when charts were calculated by hand! But Billboard is trying to keep up with changing trends in music consumption, so I think they’re doing the right things overall.

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