Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart is now factoring in YouTube views for the first time in their 55 years of existence. As reported by Complex, the shift allows songs that are online sensations to be counted among the most popular radio singles and other hit songs that are disseminated and consumed via more traditional means.
As Billboard’s editorial director Bill Werde elaborates, the move has been a long time coming and shows an effort on behalf of the music industry to not only accept but support current forms of music consumption:
“The notion that a song has to sell in order to be a hit feels a little two or three years ago to me. The music business today — much to its credit — has started to learn that there are lots of different ways a song can be a hit, and lots of different ways that the business can benefit from it being a hit.”
One current example of a song that has gone from obscurity to this year’s Gangnam Style is Harlem Shake by Baauer. Being unable to crack the Billboard’s Hot 100 based on sales, airplay and streams through online subscription services, Harlem Shake went viral and has amassed more than 200 million views on YouTube while currently collecting over 4,000 views per day.
Harlem Shake is now numero uno on the Billboard charts, knocking off Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and becoming the most downloaded song of the week in the first week of Billboard’s new formula.
For those of you who are worried that including YouTube views will leave the Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart susceptible to manipulation, perhaps this will reassure you. In December, Music Feeds reported that YouTube was cracking down on view manipulation. This meant that YouTube wiped millions of views from music videos that has been uploaded by major labels such as Sony and Universal which were suspected of having their view tally beneficially tampered with.