These days it seems like Taylor Swift makes some sort of chart history every week. Last night, it was announced that for the third week in a row, Taylor Swift would be number one on both Billboard‘s albums and singles charts. This time it’s with a new song, as “Blank Space” jumps up 12 spots to number one, replacing “Shake It Off” after four non-consecutive weeks on top. The song’s jump is largely due to the premiere of its much-discussed video, which lands it on top the streaming chart, and download sales, where the song climbs 2-1 this week. With the change in chart-toppers, Taylor becomes the first solo female in Hot 100 history (and only the tenth artist of any kind) to replace herself ontop the Hot 100.
On the albums side, it’s still 1989 that’s getting it done for Taylor, moving over 300k in its third week, hurtling itself past the two million mark in overall sales. (Reminder: No other 2014 album has even sold one million yet.) It’s Taylor’s third week on top the Billboard 200, but things are about to get tricky for her and everyone else, as the magazine just announced an overhaul in chart-tabulating formula that will represent the biggest change in methodology for the service since the introduction of SoundScan technology over 20 years ago.
Currently, the Billboard 200 is measured strictly on album sales alone. Starting next month, chart placement will be determined by album sales and streaming numbers (as measured by services like Beats Music, Google Play and the now Taylor-absent Spotify), and even song sales. Ten digital track sales will now be equivalent to an album sale, the makeover reveals, as will 1,500 album streams. “The new methodology for the Billboard 200 is a welcome and necessary evolution of Nielsen and Billboard‘s album chart data,” says Sony exec Darren Stupak. “The ways in which fans consume music, and the ways in which music is monetized, have grown beyond the traditional metrics of album sales.”
Hard to tell exactly how much these changes will affect Taylor and her ilk, but it’s true that when a list of 2014 album chart-toppers includes Barbra Streisand, Tom Petty and “Weird Al” Yankovic, it might be time for a little bit of contemporizing. We’ll have much to discuss on this front next month, no doubt.