Billboard Will Now Count YouTube Views Towards Album Charts

Published on January 3, 2020

The most “popular” music used to be based on the amount of sold physical copies. Over the last decade, however, the digital era has completely transformed the way we consume music. Even the purchasing of digital music has nearly come to an end due to the popularization of streaming services. To acclimate to these changes, Billboard will now account for YouTube views when calculating the Billboard 200 chart. In addition to YouTube, video data from Apple, Spotify, and Tidal will also be included in the calculations. 

This change marks a major shift from Billboard’s conventional sales model to reflect a more multi-metric consumption-based algorithm. Now, the charts can track how much people are listening to an album versus simple tracking when a consumer purchases it. The inclusion of video data will impact popular genres on YouTube, such as Country, Latin, and Hip-Hop.

Though YouTube streams have been considered in single-specific charts like the Billboard Hot 100, this change is a first for the album charts. Billboard has been slowly updating their algorithm to account for more metrics other than sales over the past years. Five years ago Billboard added audio data which included Spotify, Google Play and Xbox Music. While video data has been an idea for a while, the addition has never been implemented until now. 

“Our decision to add YouTube and other video streaming data to our album charts reflect the continuing evolution of the music consumption market and the ways in which consumers connect to album-related content,” said Deanna Brown, Billboard-The Hollywood Reporter Media Group president. 

Global head of music at YouTube, Lyor Cohen, supported the change. He stated that it gives a “more accurate representation of what people are listening to.”

While song-charts account for almost all video data, the album-ranking metrics will only allow official licensed video content to be counted. User-generated videos, or videos not uploaded by (or on behalf of) the rights holders will not count. 

As per Billboard, “The changes take effect with the charts dated Jan. 18, 2020, which will reflect sales and streams for the period of Jan. 3-9.”

Sarah Kocur is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Las Vegas, she is a writer, radio host, and music enthusiast. She also writes for

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