Billboard, Nielsen and NARM’s digitalmusic.org announced today the launch of the first-ever subscription services “On-Demand Songs” chart, and that this data will also be included in the Billboard Hot 100. On-demand streaming data is now factored into the chart’s ranking, enhancing a formula that includes digital download track sales and physical singles sales, as tracked by Nielsen SoundScan; as well as radio airplay and other streaming services, as tracked by Nielsen BDS.
This new Billboard chart, in coordination with digitalmusic.org’s Subscription Music Work Group, and powered by Nielsen BDS, which began tracking streaming activity in 2005, measures every on-demand play request and plays from unlimited listener-controlled radio channels on MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker and Spotify; data from Zune and Sony Music Unlimited is expected to be added in the coming weeks. The plays tracked for the On-Demand Songs chart include streams and tethered downloads by both paying and free/trial tier users. Through the first 70 days of 2012, Nielsen BDS has captured more than 4.5. billion audio streams.
“Billboard always recognizes trends in the way fans experience music. With some of these services growing exponentially and integrating into the social web, the time is right to launch a streaming chart and to incorporate this activity into the Hot 100,” said Bill Werde, Billboard’s editorial director.
“Nielsen has been capturing streaming data since 2005 when the impact of digital music consumption was clear,” said Chris Muratore, VP, Merchant Services & Emerging Growth for Entertainment, Nielsen. “As our relationships have grown to include most of the largest music streaming services in the business, we have measured an all-time weekly high of more than 625 million total streams in the past week alone. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Billboard and partners like NARM to provide the most comprehensive measurement and analysis for the industry and our clients.”
“The last year has seen an explosion of both subscribers and traffic to music subscription services, and the business is now contributing meaningfully to the music industry’s growing digital music revenues. This chart marks a significant milestone in the evolution of the music subscription business,” said Bill Wilson, VP of Business Development and Digital Strategy, NARM/digitalmusic.org. “The new Billboard chart is the definitive endorsement of the importance of the music subscription market and, as Nielsen continues to track tremendous growth, its influence can only become more important in the future.”
The number and types of outlets that people utilize to consume music continues to grow, and due to the rise of so many user-based platforms, the impact consumers have also continues to increase. Never in the 50-plus year history of the Hot 100 has a music fan had more of an influence on the chart’s rankings as they do today.
“The methodology behind all of the Billboard charts is ever-evolving to incorporate new technologies and the emerging ways consumers listen to and buy music” said Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s director of charts. “Accounting for an interactive medium such as streaming, both in the Hot 100 chart and the On-Demand Songs chart, provides an even more accurate gauge of the songs that are truly the most popular in the country.”
The Hot 100 formula, in addition to tracking terrestrial radio and digital track sales, will now account for the streaming data that makes up the On-Demand Songs chart, as well as non-demand radio streams from Rhapsody and Slacker. The chart rankings will also measure plays on video request service Akoo and audio on-demand streams from MySpace and Guvera. Yahoo! radio streams and Yahoo! on-demand video plays, which were previously part of the Hot 100 formula, will continue to contribute to the chart’s ranking. The streaming data is provided to and processed by Nielsen BDS, which provides music research and monitoring services for the entertainment industry.
The first-ever No. 1 atop On-Demand Songs belongs to New York act Fun. and its hit “We Are Young,” featuring Janelle Monae, with a total of 1.1 million streams, according to Nielsen BDS. The track also tops the re-formatted Billboard Hot 100 for a second consecutive week. The rest of the On-Demand Songs top five are as follows: “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra, “Rack City” by Tyga, “N—as In Paris” by Jay-Z & Kanye West and “Take Care” by Drake featuring Rihanna. Each of those songs posts a better ranking on this week’s Hot 100 than it would have had the chart not undergone this week’s addition of greater streaming data. For instance, Gotye’s track ranks at No. 5 on the Hot 100, instead of No. 8, while the Drake/Rihanna collaboration re-enters the top 10 at a new peak of No. 7; it would have remained outside the top 10 under the old formula.
Other notable titles on the On-Demand Songs chart that are outperforming their sales rankings and airplay placements on the Hot 100’s main component charts (Digital Songs and Radio Songs) include Tyga’s “Rack City,” Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$)” and Avicii’s “Levels.” The addition of streaming data to the Hot 100 thusly boosts these songs’ standings on that chart, as evidenced by the No. 15 rank for Tyga (instead of No. 18), the No. 40 rank for Big Sean (instead of No. 52) and the No. 66 rank for Avicii (instead of No. 80). Moreover, artists such as M83 at No. 74 (with “Midnight City”), and Skrillex at No. 83 (with “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”), debut and re-enter, respectively, on the Hot 100 primarily due to the influx of data from the newly incorporated streaming services. Also, a prior established hit, “You Da One” by Rihanna (No. 31 on On-Demand Songs), moves 97-76 on this week’s Hot 100, whereas it would have fallen off the chart if the list’s methodology had not been changed.
Other recent updates to the Billboard charts include the launch of the Social 50 chart that measures artist engagement activity on Facebook, Twitter and other leading social networks and Uncharted, a ranking of top artists yet to land on another major Billboard chart that is also based on activity on social and streaming platforms.
The updated Hot 100 and the new On-Demand Songs chart will be available on Billboard.com and Billboard.biz tomorrow morning (March 15) and will be featured in the March 24 issue of Billboard magazine, which hits newsstands on March 16. The On-Demand Songs chart will also be featured each week on www.digitalmusic.org.
For more information on the Billboard charts, please visit Billboard.com.