Billboard 200 has announced its biggest change in 23 years today.
The authority in album sales in the country has revealed that it will now include on-demand streaming and individual digital track sales (as measured by Nielsen) towards ranking albums on the Billboard 200 chart. It’s the biggest change since it started using Nielsen/Soundscan data to measure album sales in 1991.
The new chart will debut after calculating data from album sales during the Thanksgiving week and aims to provide consumers a true estimate of “consumption activity” instead of only counting sales.
From now on, 10 digital track sales from an album and 1,500 song streams from an album will be counted as one album sale each. Streaming data from all leading providers like Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play and Xbox Music will be taken into consideration. Current artists like Ariana Grande, Hozier and Maroon 5 are likely to immediately benefit from the new methodology as their streaming and digital song sales have been outperforming their album sales in recent weeks.
Billboard will continue to publish a pure album sales chart called Top Album Sales, that will maintain the traditional Billboard 200 methodology comprising Nielsen’s sales data only. Also, existing genre album charts like Country, R&B/Hip-Hop, etc. will remain sale-based for the time being.