Go on any Duran Duran message board and I’ll bet you’ll find at least one thread talking about chart figures. Duran fans cannot seem to get past the bands absence on the Top 20. Or the Top 40. Or even the Top 100 at times. Naturally this leads to discussions of all kinds, going from the somewhat obvious “Why aren’t they on the charts?” to the more obscure but still ever-popular “Why isn’t this band being promoted properly?!?“.
What I don’t necessarily see being discussed often is Billboard charts do not include figures for Spotify and Rhapsody, among a few others. Granted, Spotify and Rhapsody are subscription based services – and users do not necessarily own the albums or songs they are hearing when using those services. However, one could reasonable debate that point by saying that when we listen to radio – a FREE service unless you’re talking satellite radio – users do not own those albums or songs either, and yet radio figures have been used in Billboard charting for years.
Well, discuss no more! Today, Billboard announced the inclusion of Spotify & Rhapsody figures in their charting. Here’s the blurb from Hypebot below:
Billboard Magazine‘s Hot 100 chart is finally joining the digital revolution with the addition of digital music services like Spotify and Rdio to the radio airplay and digital song sales that currently define it. Editorial Director Bill Werde, told the Wall Street Journal that the magazine had waited to update its charts because music streaming services “have only recently hit a critical mass”. A full list of the services added to the chart:
Cricket’s Muve Music
Still missing is, at the very least, music on Youtube.
Personally I think that streaming services hit critical mass a while back and Billboard is just extremely slow to react to major industry changes. I picture them, along with most everyone else in the industry – label and artist alike – being dragged kicking and screaming into the new reality. That said, it’s a welcome change and a good beginning to an overhaul from the last century to the one we’ve been in for the past ten years.
Until Billboard starts including YouTube music figures though, it would seem as though the chart definitions will continue to be lacking. It seems to me as someone who is admittedly “Just a Fan”, that until Billboard and similar start giving proper credit to services such as YouTube, and stop relying so much on land based radio play lists for these charts (does anyone really listen???), we’re still not going to be getting the full picture. Let’s be honest – radio playlists are based on whatever the programmers (who once again are hamsters kept in a very dark basement in New York City) decide. Artists who want radio time know how to get it. (and if you want to talk payola with me and how it’s illegal….I’ve got a bridge to sell you in the California desert!) Spotify, Rhapsody, the other services mentioned and even YouTube are slightly different animals because, oddly enough, the consumer – that would be you and I – decide what we LIKE and WANT to listen to. According to what I’m reading, that is what will be tracked (in addition of those nasty NYC hamsters spinning their wheels!) What a concept!