After launching a real-time music chart with Twitter earlier this year, Billboard is making yet another move to become even more digital, announcing that they will now count streams towards the "Billboard 200" album sales chart. As part of the new system, which will go into effect on December 3, the chart will begin tracking data from streaming sites such as Spotify, Google Play, Xbox Music, and more and counting it towards album sales.
Basically, the chart will now recognize 10 digital track sales from an album as one album sold, and 1,500 song streams from an album as one album sold. According to the New York Times, this will have a pretty big impact, using the example of Ariana Grande's new album, which is currently at the #36 spot on the chart, but with the new rules, would come in at #9.
Billboard's Vice President of Charts and Data Development, commented on the change, releasing the following statement:
"Adding streaming information makes the chart a better representation of music consumption activity. While an extremely valuable measurement, album sales would mostly capture the initial impulse only, without indicating the depth of consumption thereafter. Someone could listen to the album just once, or listen to one track or a number of tracks 100 times. We are now able to incorporate those plays as part of an album consumption ranking throughout one's possession of an album, extending beyond the initial purchase or listen."
With a number of highly-anticipated albums on the way before the year ends—J. Cole, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and more—it will definitely be interesting to see how these new rules impact the charts moving forward.