Rolling Stone Magazine to Launch Music Charts

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Rolling Stone magazine announced it's getting into the music chart business, saying it plans to launch five charts next Monday May 13, powered by BuzzAngle, the data company Rolling Stone’s parent company, Penske Media, acquired a stake in last year, which will be rechristened Alpha Data on that day too.

The company made its announcement this morning at the opening session of the Music Biz Conference, being held in Nashville. Billboard has been compiling music charts for at least 80 years, and on Monday announced the launch of a new global music chart.

The Rolling Stone charts will include a Top 100 songs, Top 200 albums, which will be updated daily, as well as the top 500 streaming artists, the trending 25 artists and the breakthrough 25 artist, which will be updated weekly.

In compiling its charts, BuzzAngle leader Jim Lidestri said it is bringing a re-evaluated weighting to its charts, similar to the way Billboard's data supplier Nielsen Music uses different weighting for ad-supported streams versus paid subscriber streams. The former streams pays a lower per stream rate than the latter, to artists and labels, and thus they each have different weightings with an album consumption unit needing 1,250 paid streams while 3,750 paid streams are needed.

But he added that Alpha Data will also be considering monetization to apply different weighting for standard albums versus deluxe versions too, although the album format is a lot less important today than individual songs in the overall data picture.

"Part of the reason to get into the data space, we saw an opportunity to pair these brands" Rolling Stone and BuzzAngle, Penske Media’s head of portfolio sales Stephen Blackwell said. "We want to share as much content as we can," with readers and the industry.

"We are in the music space to stay," he said. "Rolling Stone is iconic, and trusted by the artists."

In closing, Blackwell said "transparency is more important than ever and we feel the artists need to know how they got there in the charts. So we will publish our methodology with every chart…because to us transparency really matters."