Billboard announced that will adjust how it weights streaming equivalents for its charts. Under the current system, Billboard only distinguishes between streams from on-demand platforms and streams from programmed services, with more weight given to the on-demand plays. Beginning in 2018, Billboard will begin weighting paid streams more heavily than free listening streams.
The change recognizes that there are some platforms that require subscriptions, such as Apple Music or Amazon Music, and others that are hybrids with a paid option, such as Spotify or SoundCloud. Billboard said it will differentiate between the free and paid streams in hybrid services. Video streams will still only be a part of the Hot 100 list, and will not contribute to the Billboard 200 chart.
“The shift to a multi-level streaming approach to Billboard’s chart methodology is a reflection of how music is now being consumed on streaming services, migrating from a pure on-demand experience to a more diverse selection of listening preferences (including playlists and radio), and the various options in which a consumer can access music based on their subscription commitment,” the Billboard staff said in announcing the change. “It is Billboard’s belief that assigning values to the levels of consumer engagement and access – along with the compensation derived from those options – better reflects the varied user activity occurring on these services.”