Each week, we take a look at all the metal stuff that’s happening on the Billboard charts via our Metal by Numbers column. And while it’s a reliable way of seeing who’s buying music every week, it’s only part of the picture. Streaming music has become the preferred way for many to listen to music, and services like Spotify and Pandora where people pay for access to music as opposed to paying for the music itself, have become the norm. Billboard has acknowledged that on their singles charts, with YouTube streams counting towards airplay. Now they’re finally doing the same thing with the Billboard 200, the New York Times reports.
It will be a few weeks until this takes place (December 4), and the changes may be subtle. 1,500 streams from services like Spotify, Beats Music and Google Play will count as the equivalent to one album sale. But also, track equivalent albums (aka, 10 downloads of individual tracks on an album) will count as one album sale. The Times expects that albums by pop stars that tend to debut high and drop off quickly, will “linger longer in the upper rungs.” They use an album by Ariana Grande, No. 36 this week, that would be No. 9 under the new formula. It’s unclear what impact that will have on metal, but you can expect that albums that continue getting listened to will stick around on the charts a bit longer.