When Billboard came out with its first “Hot 100” in the first week of August 1958, it used to track songs that were popular on the radio stations in the United States of America.
Things have changed tremendously since then and as the “Hot 100” was designed to adapt and absorb whatever medium is popular with the masses, the record charts remain a talking point even as radio transistors and iPods go out of fashion.
The record charts aren’t perfect, an example being legends like Bob Dylan never attaining the top spot, but they are still important for the music businesses and patrons who track how big is a ‘hit’ really.
Besides, they matter to the musicians and the songwriters vying to get that top spot, even for a fleeting week.
The YouTube player
YouTube recently started its own music chart called “Trending” which refreshes multiple times a day with real-time data on music that is being heard on the platform.
The company, that has 1.8 billion users logging in every month announced that it will be releasing more charts and data breakdowns of music in the days to come.
The new “Trending” chart features most viewed new music divided into categories such as- Top Songs and Top Artists tallying up several forms of video across 44 global territories, including official videos, lyric videos, collaborations and user-generated content that uses official tracks.
The ever-changing Billboard
Billboard, the company behind the most popular of record charts recently changed its methodology recently to favor paid streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music and gave three times more preference to these platforms compared to free or ad-supported streaming platforms like YouTube.
The changes on Billboard chart will reflect starting June 29, as Billboard gives Streaming priority over radio play and even digital song sales. Billboard will further make changes to prefer paid subscription services with full library access compared to the ones with on-demand listening restrictions.
These new rules make Billboard charts a less credible as they do not reflect the song’s true popularity at a given time while there could be twice as many people listening to it on platforms like YouTube
The Billboard charts can be a little skewed compared to YouTube’s trending charts because paid streaming platforms don’t have independent creators like YouTube does.
The impact of multiple charts
While there are many record charts, most record charts run on three parameters; sales, airplay, and streaming.
Even as these factors keep changing and no one can really ascertain which parameter weighs more compared to others, as long as there’s music to track, record charts will remain revered, even if it is for the artists.
(Image credits: YouTube.com, Billboard.com)