Fifty-seven years ago today, the record of U.S. album sales became a weekly tally.
Happy 57th birthday, Billboard 200! On this date in 1956, the albums chart launched as a weekly survey.
Previously the bi-weekly 15-position "Popular Albums," the tally joined Billboard magazine's weekly menu on March 24, 1956 (ranging from 15 to 30 positions in each issue). By Aug. 17, 1963, the chart had expanded to 150 positions, as "Top LP's," with the '60s bringing greater prominence to the album format, thanks in part to iconic works like the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
The chart was renamed "Top LP's & Tapes" the week of Feb. 19, 1972, "Top 200 Albums" (Oct. 20, 1984) and "Top Pop Albums" (Jan. 5, 1985). It underwent perhaps its most significant change the week of May 25, 1991, when electronically monitored Nielsen SoundScan point-of-sale data replaced ranked retailer reports as the basis for its tabulation. Finally, the rebranded "Billboard 200 Top Albums" (shortened to "The Billboard 200" on March 14, 1992) reflected U.S. album sales in specific units, with debuts at No. 1, and a higher turnover rate at the top, becoming common.