Billboard adds YouTube streaming data to chart formulas

Well, that explains how Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’ debuted at #1 on the Hot 100 chart.

Billboard has updated its Hot 100 methodology to “further reflect the divergent platforms for music consumption in today’s world,” bringing the long-running magazine further into the 21st century.

YouTube streaming data joins Nielsen’s digital download track sales and physical singles sales, terrestrial radio airplay, on-demand audio streaming, and online radio streaming, which is also tracked by Nielsen. Interestingly, the streaming component includes both “official” channels such as Vevo as well as user-generated clips.

That could help explain how Baauer’s viral trap phenomenon ‘Harlem Shake’ debuted at the top of the charts without traditional radio support or earth-shaking sales numbers. 103 million YouTube views helped boost ‘Harlem Shake’ from the top 15 placing it would have garnered with the old formula; the track’s 262,000 digital sales places it at #3 on the Hot Digital Songs chart.

Last year, Billboard and Nielsen launched the On-Demand Songs chart, which relies on data from services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, and Rdio. Billboard’s recently launched Streaming Songs chart will also use YouTube data, blending all available streaming sources into one ranking.



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