Starting Thursday, Nov. 28, Billboard’s long-standing Christian Songs and Gospel Songs charts will be receiving a major consumer-influenced facelift, as digital download sales (tracked by Nielsen SoundScan) and streaming data (from services tracked by Nielsen BDS such as YouTube, Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music, among others) will be factored into the rankings, along with existing radio airplay data monitored by Nielsen BDS. The makeovers will enable these charts to match the methodology applied to our signature all-genre songs ranking, the Billboard Hot 100 as well as other genre charts such as Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rock Songs, among others. The revamped Christian and Gospel charts take effect online on Thursday, November 28th and in the December 7th issue of Billboard magazine.
Concurrent to the revamping of Christian Songs and Gospel Songs, we will also introduce new streaming-only charts titled Christian Streaming Songs and Gospel Streaming Songs. Once added to Billboard’s existing airplay and digital download charts for each genre, the streaming rankings will provide a third distinct breakout charts for the overarching Christian Songs and Gospel Songs.
“We are extremely excited to add Christian and Gospel to our growing list of consumer-influenced rankings, which are in the mold of our flagship songs chart, the Hot 100,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard Director of Charts. “Incorporating download sales and streaming data to existing radio airplay provides a more holistic view of a song’s popularity.”
Billboard has been charting the popularity of Christian Songs since 2003 and Gospel Songs since 2005, utilizing an airplay-only methodology while digital song rankings were launched for both genres in 2010. The existing radio charts for Christian and Gospel will be spun off and live on Billboard’s print and/or online properties, each keeping its history from their respective launches.
Until now, only Christian and Gospel music stations contributed to the Christian Songs and Gospel Songs. The new methodology, which will utilize the Hot 100’s formula of incorporating airplay from more than 1,200 radio stations of all genres monitored by BDS, will reward titles receiving airplay on other formats, which will specifically hold true for the many gospel titles which receive airplay on urban stations, especially during Sunday morning specialty programming. With digital download sales and streaming data measuring popularity on the most inclusive scale possible, it is only just that the radio portion of Billboard chart calculations includes airplay from the entire spectrum of monitored radio formats.