What's interesting is that the new charts are a product not only of Billboard, but also of Nielsen Broadcast Data System and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers. That said, the charts will mostly rely on data from Nielsen.
It's little known that Nielsen has been tracking music data streams since 2005, but has largely kept the data to itself. What they did finally release was pretty interesting, like in the first 70 days of the year it had tracked more than 4.5 billion audio streams, 625 million in the last week alone.
Another nugget is that streaming activity rose 17% in the week after Christmas while digital download sales jumped 20%, and that digital single song sales are up 7% this year so far.
A possible flaw in the system is that Nielsen doesn't track Pandora and what their more than 20 million users are listening to, but at least what they've done is a vast improvement of the past way of doing it, which was strictly by sales.
Billboard has been losing it's relevance for quite some time now and desperately needed to step into the future in order to survive. With fewer and fewer music stores and labels around, it's customers and influence is dwindling, and the company has laid off some of it's best people recently as a result.
Will this be too little, too late?
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