The Billboard 200 albums chart will begin reflecting the numbers from on-demand streaming services and digital track sales. Starting on Dec. 4, the charts will incorporate the numbers outside the typical sales-only rankings. It is the biggest overhaul of Billboard’s algorithm since May 1991.
According to the new equations, 10 digital track sales from an album will be considered the same as one album sale. Also, 1,500 song streams from an album will also count as equivalent to an album sale. The Nielsen data will reflect numbers from all major on-demand services, including Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play, and Xbox Music.
“While an extremely valuable measurement, album sales would mostly capture the initial impulse only, without indicating the depth of consumption thereafter,” said Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s vice president of charts and data development.
Billboard has also experimented with a real-time angle for its charts, launching two Twitter-centric lists that reflect the social media buzz for top songs and new artists in May. It’s not the first chart source to incorporate numbers from streaming sources in their results; similar platforms in Australia and New Zealand have also adopted the practice.