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YouTube Plays to Count Less Than Subscription Streaming on the Billboard Charts in 2018

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: Rapper Post Malone visits SiriusXM Studio on November 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

Billboard has announced that video views will soon count less than paid streams in their Hot 100 ranking. Three years since they started factoring YouTube plays into their Hot 100 system, the chartmakers have reevaluated the ways in which the chart accounts for “the advisement of our constituents (artists, labels, distributors, publishers, consumers, etc.),” as noted in a recent report.

“It is our goal at Billboard to accurately portray in an unbiased manner how music performs relative to other music,” the report says. “Beginning in 2018, plays occurring on paid subscription-based services (such as Amazon Music and Apple Music) or on the paid subscription tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported platforms (such as SoundCloud and Spotify) will be given more weight in chart calculations than those plays on pure ad-supported services (such as YouTube) or on the non-paid tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported services.”

Recently, Post Malone‘s hit “Rockstar” cracked No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, performing particularly well on streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music. Unlike most singles also prominently streamed on YouTube, the so-called “official” version uploaded by the rapper’s label, Republic Records, instead features five choruses edited together. Eerily close to the actual song in length, this edited YouTube version has racked up over 54 million plays in the month it’s been available on the site, leading many to believe the edit to be responsible for inflating the track’s streaming numbers and valuation with Billboard, a sister brand of SPIN. In deflating the impact of YouTube streams, this 2018 adjustment appears an attempt to more accurately account for paid-vs.-unpaid streaming.

Billboard remains committed to being the book of record when it comes to tracking fan activity in and around music,” the piece notes. Read Billboard‘s full report here.