Billboard reformulates its Top 200 albums chart
The Billboard 200 albums chart will look a little different after Thanksgiving. Starting with the installment of the chart that goes live online Dec. 4, positions won’t be determined simply by the number of albums sold—in a nod to modern music-buying habits, 10 digital track sales from one album, or 1,500 streams, will be considered the equivalent of one album purchase.
The rejiggered formula should be a boon to artists with younger, more digitally savvy audiences, who tend to purchase tracks a la carte rather than as entire albums or prefer streaming over buying. Billboard predicts that Ariana Grande, Hozier, and Maroon 5 stand to benefit from the change.
In recent years, the differences in buying habits between older and younger demographics have driven apart the album chart and the Hot 100 singles chart, with the latter dominated by contemporary pop acts and the former skewing toward classic rock, country, and artists like Barbra Streisand, who recently topped the chart.
The reformulation follows a change to the Hot 100 to count YouTube streams, and is the first major change to the Billboard 200 rules since 1991 when it began charting albums based on Nielsen SoundScan data.
In other news, Taylor Swift became the first female artist in Billboard history (and 10th overall) to have two consecutive singles top the Hot 100. On the latest chart, her song “Blank Space” replaces “Shake It Off” at No. 1, driven largely by YouTube plays.