After months of intensive analysis to overhaul their rating system, Billboard has announced that they will weigh paid music subscription streams more than free streaming portals. The changes will take effect the week of June 29 to July 5, reflected on Billboard charts July 14. The revised methodology will affect both the Billboard Top 100 songs chart and the Billboard top 200 albums chart.
Billboard utilizes two definitions for streaming plays for the Top 100: on-demand (Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, etc.), and programmed (Pandora, Slacker Radio, etc.). Starting June 29, plays on paid subscription-based services (full point value per play) will receive more weight in chart calculations than ad-supported streams (2/3-point value per play) and programmed streams (1/2-point value per play). Those points are added to all-genre radio airplay and digital songs sales data to obtain the true chart ranking.
The Top 200 will adjust the weight attributed to two tiers of on-demand audio streams. Tier 1 involves paid subscription audio streams (where 1,250 streams equals 1 album unit). Tier 2 includes ad-supported audio streams (where 3,750 streams equals 1 album unit). The Top 200 will consider trial subscriptions as part of Tier 1. In addition, it will continue to not recognize video streams.
This overhaul is due to the diversity in how people obtain and consume music. It is reflective of a industry-wide endeavor to measure streams in a revenue-reflective and access-based manner. Streaming music is the most significant factor on the charts, followed by radio airplay, then digital sales. More changes will come in early 2019, and Billboard will assess the effectiveness at the end of each quarter.
To follow how the new system impacts results, checkout the Billboard Top 100 here.