Earlier this week, Billboard announced it’s finalized changes to how streams are weighted in its rankings of the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart and Billboard 200 albums chart.
Under the new model, streams through paid subscription services will count for more in Billboard’s song and album rankings, compared to streams through ad-supported services. The changes will first be taken into account for the week of June 29 to July 5.
For the Hot 100, one play through a paid subscription streaming service will be worth one point, but a play through ad-supported streaming services will be worth 2/3 a point and a play through a programmed streaming service will only be worth half a point.
The Billboard 200 albums chart will count 1,250 streams through a paid subscription service to one album unit, and 3,750 streams through ad-supported streaming services to one album unit.
Billboard’s current method of calculating its charts has come under fire in the past for overvaluing free streams.
In October, Post Malone’s Record Label, Republic Records, manipulated the system so badly that Billboard announced later that month that it would be making changes to how streams were calculated.
His label put up a 3:38 loop of the chorus to the 21 Savage-featured “rockstar” on YouTube, a play of which was enough for Billboard to count it as a stream of the actual song. The video has since been taken down, but not before “rockstar” got to the #1 spot on the Hot 100, the first time a song by Post or 21 got there.
On the losing end of Billboard’s calculations is up-and-coming SoundCloud rapper YBN Nahmir, who accidentally catapulted even-more-up-and-coming SoundCloud rapper Comethazine into fame. The original link to Nahmir’s viral hit “Bounce Out With That” on SoundCloud was replaced by Comethazine’s “Bands” when it got onto the SoundCloud top charts, giving Comethazine a lot of streams from Nahmir’s work.
Currently, the Billboard Hot 100 songs counts streams through on-demand services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube as being worth more than streams through programmed services like Pandora and Slacker Radio.
The Billboard 200 albums chart currently views all on-demand audio streams paid or ad-supported, from subscription services as the same.
“It is our goal at Billboard to accurately portray in an unbiased manner how music performs relative to other music,” Billboard said in October, when it first announced these changes would be made.
When these adjustments come into effect, it’ll be harder for meme rappers who got famous from views on their YouTube videos to climb up the Hot 100 charts, but established rappers like J. Cole or Drake will continue to smash streaming records like they have been.
Post Malone just broke the record for most first-day streams on Spotify and Apple Music with Beerbongs & Bentleys, beating J. Cole’s KOD, which just set the record after beating Drake’s Views.