How We Charted the Year 2013

Streaming data shakes up tallies, tracking viral hits

It’s amazing how quickly a year goes by. It feels like just yesterday Billboard was honoring Adele and One Direction as top artist and top new artist, respectively, of 2012. But then again, that was before the world revisited the merits of “Thrift Shop” purchases, Florida Georgia Line was just a map demarcation and a “20/20 experience” was a hopeful result of an eye examination.


It’s been another eventful year in music, and Billboard, as always, has been there to track the best of the best, each and every week. The Billboard charts department works throughout the year to prepare the rankings that grace the many pages of’s Year in Music section. And this year, the number of charts swells to roughly 150 on, with 500-plus rankings available on

2013: The Year in Music

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THE YEAR IN MUSIC 2013: Main Page
Bruno Mars: Artist of the Year Q&A
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Among the new charts joining the print lineup in 2013 is Streaming Songs. The chart, launched in January, measures on-demand and radio streams from popular services like YouTube, Spotify, Muve Music, Slacker, Rdio and Rhapsody, among others.
Also new to the chart roster is Dance/Electronic Songs, which launched in January. This new listing continued the rollout of genre-specific sales/airplay/streaming charts (using the Billboard Hot 100 hybrid formula) which began in October 2012 with the conversion of Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Rap Songs, Hot Latin Songs and Hot Rock Songs, from being primarily airplay-based to a methodology tapping multiple data sets.
Yearly recaps for those late-2012 chart reconfigurations, as well as the similarly compiled R&B Songs (which launched 14 months ago), are represented for the first time this year.
Title and artist rankings for streaming charts covering country, R&B/hip-hop, Latin, R&B, rap, dance/electronic and rock also make their first Year in Music appearances. Found on are imprint, label, writer, producer and publishing recaps for the latter four charts.
The bevy of new chart additions recognizes such acts as viral sensation Baauer and his “Harlem Shake” (top Dance/Electronic Songs artist and title, respectively), Pharrell Williams (top R&B Songs producer) and Imagine Dragons (top rock streaming song), among others.
Each of the year-end music tallies represents aggregated numbers for each artist, title, label and music contributor from Billboard’s weekly charts. Most of those numbers are based on data from Nielsen Entertainment, with sales of physical and digital products compiled by Nielsen SoundScan and radio airplay and digital streams measured by Nielsen BDS.
The data for the Social 50 and Uncharted tallies is provided by aggregator Next Big Sound, which tracks social activity on such sites as YouTube, Vevo, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram and Wikipedia.
The rankings for BDS- and SoundScan-based music charts reflect airplay, sales or streaming during the weeks that titles appeared on a relevant chart during the tracking period. The 2013 chart period -- which includes 53 weeks this year -- began with last year’s Dec. 1 issue and ended on Nov. 30, 2013.
Sales or airplay that 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.
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.
As noted above, the Hot 100 reflects accumulated radio, sales and streaming points, according to data provided by BDS and SoundScan. The same weekly and annual methodology is used for Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Rap Songs, R&B Songs, Dance/Electronic Songs, Hot Latin Songs and Hot Rock Songs.
Artist, imprint, label and distributor categories for all genres (found on reflect accumulated chart performance for each 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.
Imprint and label rankings for the Top, Country, R&B/Hip-Hop, Dance/Electronic, Latin and Rock charts combine data from albums 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, Dance/Electronic Albums, Top Latin Albums and Top Rock Albums, respectively, have parity with the specific chart points that construct each week’s Hot 100, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Dance/Electronic Songs, Hot Latin Songs and Hot Rock Songs.
A similar weighted formula is also utilized in the artist categories for the Top, Country, R&B/Hip-Hop, Dance/Electronic Songs, Latin and Rock tallies. In addition to including album sales and song activity from airplay, sales and streaming, Billboard also incorporates Boxscore touring revenue, Social 50 chart activity and ringtone sales.
For an act to qualify as a new artist for the Top category, it must not have had an album peak on the Billboard 200 prior to October 2012 nor a single (as a lead artist) peak on the Hot 100 through that same period.
To qualify as a new artist for Country, R&B/Hip-Hop, Dance/Electronic, Latin and Rock, an artist should also not have had an album peak prior to October 2012 on the respective genre’s album chart. In addition, an artist that appears in a new artist category in a previous year isn’t eligible to rank in that same category the following year, regardless of albums and/or songs chart peak dates.

Dance Club Songs, Social 50 and Uncharted rankings are based on an inverse point system, with titles collecting points based on rank for each week they were on the chart.
Publishing categories found on 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 to which each artist is signed. An artist’s title count will still include all charting efforts, even those recorded on other labels.