After Nearly Two-Month Delay, Rolling Stone Launches Music Charts

Rolling Stone has unveiled five daily interactive charts tracking music consumption in the U.S., the publication revealed Tuesday (July 2). The charts were previously announced at a sponsored breakfast at the Music Biz Conference in Nashville with an original launch date of May 13, but the release was subsequently pushed back in effort to better "optimize" with industry partners.

The charts -- The Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs, Top 200 Albums, Artists 500, Trending 25 for new songs seeing the biggest gains in popularity every week and Breakthrough 25 for rising artists who have never appeared on the Artist 500 chart -- are designed to “reflect the true impact of music, celebrate the artists most deserving of attention, and better define what it really means to be number one,” according to the company. Metrics are provided by Alpha Data (formerly BuzzAngle), the independent analytics company owned by Rolling Stone’s parent company Penske Media Corporation that collects and processes data from dozens of major music suppliers.

"Part of the reason to get into the data space, we saw an opportunity to pair these brands [Rolling Stone and Alpha Data]," said Penske Media’s head of portfolio sales Stephen Blackwell during the May announcement. "We want to share as much content as we can."

The five charts will update on a daily basis, with finalized seven-day overviews of the previous week made available every Monday. None of the charts track “passive listening” formats such as terrestrial and digital radio.

Rolling Stone notes that while the beta launch period includes only these five charts, it plans to unveil “many more” in the future. It also claims to be working on an international expansion that will track global music-consumption data.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this article said that Alpha Data tracks ad-supported streams and paid-subscriber streams on an equal basis. This is incorrect, the streams are weighed 3,600:1 and 1,200:1, respectively. 

UPDATE:  An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Rolling Stone charts were announced at the opening session of the Music Biz Conference. They were actually announced at a sponsored breakfast on the third morning of the conference.

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