Billboard's Year in Music special issue offers the definitive recap of the songs, albums, artists, labels, tours and other music makers that have fared the best during the past year.
There are 480-plus rankings available online, including deeper rankings for some of the 280 charts included on the pages of the magazine.
Joining the print lineup in 2011 are rankings for the artist-based Social 50 and Uncharted charts and the addition of Hot 100 Airplay artists.
Also new to the menu are expanded artist and label breakouts for Latin and Rock, including new recognition for the top artist, new artist, imprint and label in those genres.
The aforementioned charts recognize chart-topping achievements by such diverse acts as Justin Bieber, Traphik, Shakira, Prince Royce and Mumford & Sons.
Exclusive to Billboard.biz is the entire year-end menu of charts, including such recent additions as Pop, Alternative and Hard Rock Digital Songs.
Each of the year-end music tallies represents aggregated numbers for each artist, title, label and music contributor from the weekly charts.
Most of those numbers are based on data from Nielsen Entertainment, with sales of physical and digital product compiled by Nielsen SoundScan and radio airplay and digital streams measured by Nielsen BDS.
The Ringtones category is based on sales tracked by Nielsen RingScan. Social 50 data is provided by online aggregator Next Big Sound, while Uncharted is formulated by data from Next Big Sound and Myspace.
The entire Billboard charts department has a hand in compiling the year-end recaps. At the center of this effort are charts production manager Michael Cusson and associate production manager Alex Vitoulis. Boxscore chart manager Bob Allen compiles the touring tallies.
The rankings for BDS- and SoundScan-based music charts reflect airplay or sales during the weeks that titles appeared on a relevant chart during the tracking period. This includes activity during unpublished weeks for those lists that print every other week. The 2011 chart year began with last year's Dec. 4 issue and ended with the one dated Nov. 26, 2011.
Sales or airplay registered before or after a title's chart run aren't considered in these standings. That methodology detail, and the December-November time period, account for some of the differences between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are compiled independently by either SoundScan or BDS.
Artist, imprint, label and distributor categories for all genres reflect accumulated chart performance for all titles on the pertinent chart.
The umbrella "label" categories refer to the distributing labels and/or promotion labels listed on Billboard's weekly charts. If only one label appears on a chart listing, that company counts as both "imprint" and "label" for that title.
The merger or consolidation of labels during 2011 (Universal Motown and Universal Republic, Reprise and Warner Bros., Jive Label Group and RCA Music Group) were taken into account when ranking those labels for the year. Points for chart entries were awarded appropriately based on when those mergers took effect.
Imprint and Label rankings for Top, country, R&B/Hip-Hop, Latin and Rock combine data from album and singles charts for each respective genre, utilizing formulas that have been weighted so that the sales units tallied on the Billboard 200, Top Country Albums, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Top Latin Albums and Top Rock Albums, respectively, have parity with the specific chart points that construct each week's Billboard Hot 100, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Latin Songs and Rock Songs.
Rankings for year-end airplay charts are based on accumulated BDS-monitored plays or audience impressions, depending on each list's weekly methodology, for each week a song appeared on the chart.
The Hot 100 reflects accumulated radio, sales and streaming points, according to data provided by Nielsen BDS and Nielsen SoundScan.
Artist categories for Top, Country and R&B/Hip-Hop have been revised this year to account for activity beyond album sales, track downloads and airplay.
Now part of the weighted formula is Boxscore touring revenue, Social 50 chart activity, ringtone sales and streaming data from such sources as Vevo, Slacker, AOL, Rhapsody and Napster, among others, provided by Nielsen BDS. Artist categories for Pan-Rock and Latin have been added using this same methodology.
For an act to qualify as a new artist for the Top, Country, R&B/Hip-Hop, Latin and Rock categories, it must not have placed an album on the Billboard 200 prior to October 2010 or appeared on a prior year-end new artist ranking.
The Dance Club Songs rankings are based on an inverse point system, with titles collecting points based on rank for each week they were on the chart.
The publishing categories reflect accumulated points for all charted songs on applicable weekly charts. If a song is held by more than one publisher, points are divided equally among them.
In the Publishing Corporation category, parent companies receive 100% of the points from publishers in which they own at least 50% equity and 25% of the points compiled by publishers that they administer but do not own.
Accompanying label listings on the top artists rankings are limited to the label each artist is signed to. An artist's title count will still include all charting efforts, even those recorded on other labels.