Billboard Charts Add YouTube Views

Data will enhance rankings to reflect online video activity.

Billboard and Nielsen are adding U.S. YouTube data to their platforms, which includes an update to the methodology for the Billboard Hot 100, the pre-eminent singles chart. The YouTube data is now factored into the chart's ranking, enhancing a formula that includes Nielsen's digital download track sales and physical singles sales, as well as terrestrial radio airplay, on-demand audio streaming and online radio streaming, also tracked by Nielsen.

Billboard is incorporating all official videos on YouTube captured by Nielsen's streaming measurement, including Vevo on YouTube, and user-generated clips that utilize authorized audio into the Hot 100 and the Hot 100 formula-based genre charts: Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, R&B Songs, Rap Songs, Hot Latin Songs, Hot Rock Songs and Dance/Electronic Songs. The adoption will further reflect the current divergent platforms for music consumption.

The most notable YouTube-influenced title this week is viral sensation "Harlem Shake" by producer Baauer, which debuts at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and Streaming Songs charts and jumps 12-1 on Dance/Electronic Songs with 103 million views, according to YouTube. According to Nielsen, the arrival of "Harlem Shake" also benefits from viral video-influenced sales of 262,000 downloads. That sales sum alone, good for a No. 3 ranking on Hot Digital Songs, would have placed the title within the top 15 on the Hot 100 without the inclusion of YouTube views.

Other YouTube-influenced highlights on the Hot 100 include Rihanna's "Stay," which jumps 57-3, and Drake's "Started From the Bottom," which soars 63-10. Videos for both songs were posted on YouTube during the tracking week, with "Stay" garnering 3.8 million U.S. views and "Started" earning 5.1 million. In addition, YouTube favorite PSY rebounds 48-26 on the Hot 100 with "Gangnam Style," which adds 3.7 million streams to its already impressive streaming total.

"We're excited to join Billboard and Nielsen in sharing how YouTube's global stage helps fans discover new artists and artists discover new audiences," says Robert Kyncl, Google VP/global head of content at YouTube. "From [Justin] Bieber and Baauer to Macklemore and PSY, YouTube is proving to be a launch pad for both established artists and the next generation of music talent."

The inclusion of YouTube data comes nearly one year after Billboard and Nielsen launched the On-Demand Songs chart and added streaming data from such leading on-demand subscription services as Spotify, Muve Music, Rhapsody, Slacker, Rdio and Xbox Music to its chart and tracking offerings.

"Nielsen is continually evolving our measurement to provide the most meaningful view of what music fans listen to and buy," says David Bakula, Nielsen's senior VP of client development and analytics. "As digital continues to transform the music business, we recognize that YouTube is a pre-eminent destination for music consumption and we are pleased to include YouTube among our existing group of music streaming services."

"The Billboard charts, especially the Hot 100, have always served to reflect the most popular songs in the country, based on the ways fans are consuming music," Billboard director of charts Silvio Pietroluongo says. "There is no denying the impact YouTube has today on music and popular culture. The inclusion of this type of interactive data to the formulas of the Hot 100, Streaming Songs and our many genre song charts is a perfect and natural complement to our varied data sources, assuring the Billboard charts are the most accurate gauge of song popularity."

YouTube data will also contribute to Billboard's Streaming Songs chart, launched last month, which blends all of the available streaming sources into one ranking.