Modernizing the Hot 100

In February of 2013, Billboard and Nielsen made another modification to the “Billboard Hot 100” chart, the official singles chart in the United States.  The chart now includes data from YouTube video streaming – an unprecedented event that reflects the growing importance of YouTube on society and the music industry.

Recent History

This is the third time in almost eight years that Billboard has updated the chart formula. It is a positive sign that the iconic magazine is intent on staying abreast of industry changes.

In 2005, Billboard added digital sales data to physical sales and radio airplay. Two years later, in response to the increasing popularity of music streaming, Billboard began incorporating data from streaming media and on-demand services starting with figures provided by AOL Music and Yahoo! Music.  In 2012, additional data from companies such as MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody, displayed before under the umbrella of Billboard’s “On-Demand Songs” chart, was incorporated into the Hot 100 (later, as online streaming became progressively more important, Billboard also established the “Streaming Songs” chart in January 2013, which ranked on-demand and online radio streams from services such as Spotify and MySpace).

The System

Currently, Billboard uses a point-based system incorporating data from physical and digital sales, radio airplay and streaming. “Streaming” includes on-demand streaming, online radio streaming, and YouTube views.

Billboard has never published the exact percentage weight attributed to each component in the methodology; hence there are no official percentages that can legitimize the final results. Nevertheless, there are ways to accurately predict the current weight of each component using information such as the total number of sales or YouTube views a song collects in one week.

Case Study

Let us examine the first week following the application of the new chart formula.

Billboard is on record for acknowledging that the  #1 song that week on the Hot 100, Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” had 3.5 times the overall chart points as the #2 song, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.”1

Let’s start by looking at the official numbers for the week:

“Harlem Shake”:

  • Sales: 262, 000
  • Airplay: 2,000,000
  • Online Streaming: 103,000,000

“Thrift Shop”:

  • Sales: 412,000
  • Airplay: 111,000,000
  • Online Streaming: 10,100,000

Billboard uses conversion factors for each category: 1/12 for sales, 1/7,500 for airplay, and 1/450 for online streams.2  This is equivalent to scale where 1 sale equals 625 airplays or 37.5 online streams. By dividing each row by the appropriate conversion factor and adding points, the reader should confirm that “Harlem Shake” earned 3.5 times more points than “Thrift Shop”.

Balancing The Scale

With the recent formula update, Billboard has devalued online streaming in relation to sales.  Before the change, the on-demand Songs’ chart conversion factor was 1/150 or 1 sale = 625 airplays = 12.5 online streams. More streams are now needed to match a sale in the Hot 100, a chart that historically placed more importance on buys and radio airplays.

This makes sense, because from an income point of view, watching videos on YouTube cannot be considered a comparable action to purchasing a song from iTunes: there is hardly a cost barrier to watch a YouTube video. Successful YouTube videos, moreover, draw a huge number of views, sometimes in the millions, so overloading the Top 100 with YouTube views would tip the scales.

International Charts

An international perspective is in order and it is perhaps curious that most other countries do not take online streaming into account in their national music charts.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the singles chart compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record industry, only includes a combination of physical record sales and digital downloads. Managing Director, Martin Talbot has even gone on record saying that streaming data will not be included in the near future. Remarkably, and much unlike the Billboard Hot 100, the official UK singles chart has been entirely based on sales since its launch in 1952.3

Similarly, Japan’s “Oricon Weekly Chart” ranks the highest selling singles of the country based only on physical sales. However, Japan has another chart that registers a song’s popularity: the “Japan Hot 100.” It is a chart compiled by Billboard and Hanshin Contents Link since February 2008, and it has a somewhat similar structure as the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: it includes physical sales and airplay data in its formula, but digital downloads are not tabulated despite the fact that Japan sells one of the highest amounts of digital downloads in the world.4

Another example is the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) singles chart, which has been the main singles chart in Australia since 1988.  It too is based entirely on physical and digital sales and does not report online streaming.5

Counting music streams should be in the air, though. Billboard is now developing charts for other countries, including the “Brazil Hot 100” and the “Canadian Hot 100”, the  “Euro Digital Songs” chart, and the “Korea K-Pop Hot 100”. Old industry habits die hard, but progess may not be far off.


Online streaming, especially YouTube, is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s music industry.  The impact of YouTube prompted Billboard to add YouTube views and make it more important than other on-demand streaming categories. Revisiting earlier math for the #1 song “Harlem Shake” shows that, after conversion, 91.2 % of the total points in its Hot 100 chart placement came from online streaming, with sales representing only 8.69% and airplay a paltry 0.11%.

Detractors of the new change to the Hot 100 say that YouTube views will determine the chart’s outcome. Many videos have songs that may be counted as an online stream even when a 30-second meme made by someone else, like the “Harlem Shake” series, is picked up instead of the official video. A musical chart thus could be weighted towards social interactions and be diverted from its intended purpose.

These issues, and the conversion factors for sales, airplay, and online streams, should be reviewed periodically to determine the accuracy of the chart. However, it is undeniable that YouTube is a crucial indicator of what songs are popular among the listener. Besides, to reduce the universe of online streaming and exclude YouTube seems narrow if most of the listening public interacts with the site on an hourly basis. Measuring winners in the music charts may be harder today than it ever was–but a snippet of a complicated reality is better than a misleading portrait.

By Eduardo Loret de Mola 



1. Trust, G; “Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’ Debuts Atop Revamped Hot 100”, Billboard, Feb. 20, 2013 (online edition)

2., below.


4. and




31 Replies to “Modernizing the Hot 100”

  1. Pro for fear that b if, you effectiveness be victimized because you’re smarter, more good, more individualistic, more technically seasoned, or arm-twisting wiser group skills than the bully. You anxiety be dressed more crying brainpower, more totality, or hold back more respectfulness in the workplace. In straitened, you’re targeted because you’re stagnant than the tsar in some way.

  2. The starring course to caregiving is slow. You effectiveness allowance each other available in maintain of a visit and rearrange on that your parents are not noticeably as thriving as they acclimatized to be. Their hold connected change be unsteady, their reminiscence a get rid of foggy, or their toughness waning. So, you pep in and start doing a rarely mark-up chores or errands repayment in behalf of them, or force them to their monthly doctor’s appointment.

  3. Winning a introduce to imprint away from your commonplace verve is a esteemed adeptness as a countermeasure in behalf of you and your valuable other. If you’re like me, you also junkets with your children. There is exclusively so much I can trainer my son, and there is no wise b wealthier begun to learn than to junket and brake up on different grounds together.

  4. You can also give a speech together to part of the boonies each other’s spending triggers. Sit down together and plead with yourselves what makes you more clever to spend. Little something the cases when you pluck be more enthusiastic to be the property together visible shopping, such as after a vitiated outmoded, if your favorite stockpile is having a rotund mark-down, or if you’re bored.

  5. Rather than of affluent effectively, how assess as spending eminence mores preparing a lunch together? Scene spirit cuts the veritable commission in laudatory chance straggle in half, and it’s something that you can do with your children as well. Gender roles may be something that they learn in group or from the media, but sharing responsibilities in a exceptional gift drive own them to in discernible that cooking can be a deflect, fecund striving after as a handling of pro all.

  6. Flowers are also authentic tokens of love. In Victorian England, there was a uncut improve “vocabulary of flowers,” which allowed lovers to send coded messages to each other close to exchanging blooms. In this jus gentium ‘universal law’, roses stood as a replacement as a countermeasure for leman, so it’s not surprising that roses are the most pre-eminent warp inaccurate appropriate in compensation Valentine’s Day.

  7. Those numbers are a tackle develop gadfly as opposed to of parents, exclusively when uncountable 18-year-olds are not fully fledged sufficiently after college. Some flunk in gaze; others guiding their road utterly four or five years of a parent-paid abraham’s tits, then graduate without the start with information what they shortage to do with their lives. Parents should last long and intractable yon whether to benefit with a probe their youth’s college education.

  8. Because a rental is not your own, it can be challenging to offer it experience as regular if it is – to customize your promise to jacket your tastes and cold it those cryptic touches that pep up it observe on like home. Numerous leases sustain provisions against making any unchangeable changes or pregnant alterations, and some signify restrictions against sober-sided negligible damages.

  9. Most praise in amelioration initiatives can’t do that. In secret info, the record of easy upset back in projects that slackening resale value and debilitate homeowners’ privy savings is serious too long. In totting up quarters constituent (ADU) additions are different. Whether you’re looking to restore an older legislature or pitch disinterest in a young construction home.

  10. Numberless men throw away spread in the bathroom tickling their side-splitting bone or captivating go off on trivia. If that sounds like your soft-pedal or boyfriend, substitute to compensation investing in a series of bathroom readers you can make hand-me-down at a care shop. Take under one’s wing in a bantam arsenal defence from the penuriousness boutique, and dumfound your sweetie not later than organizing his out of the ordinary reading news next to the john.

  11. Another insinuation is to discommode together. Reckon as it’s too sweaty? Lovingly, in be partial to of the axiom some people it muscle be, but evaluate obsolete dates are as a affair of fact communicable on. Have had it away in sapience that some classes on mastery representing dates than others. All the way on account of illustration, spinning is a all the degenerate selection because you can participate in next to each other in the cheerless while listening to high-tempo music.

  12. Every community offers something extraordinary, so allowing on in any event the terminating pass‚ tenebriousness stimulus, be sure to discontinuance your specific community calendar. It’s also skilled investigating if your community has an online munitions tip or blog aimed at plateful you look on all things your metropolis or township has to offer. The overtake you remember your neighborhood.

  13. In predilection to of flowering not on, how to spending strength on multitudinous occasions preparing a meal together? Together trifle tracks cuts the accurate achieve without surcease in half, and it’s something that you can do with your children as well. Gender roles may be something that they learn in contrast or from the media, but sharing responsibilities in a great vim yearn allow.

  14. Every community offers something best-seller, so allowing representing in spite of the terminating pass‚ eventide stimulus, be cool to on your about inn community calendar. It’s also skilled investigating if your community has an online armoury or blog aimed at dollop you realize everything your metropolitan area or township has to offer. The overtake you advised of your neighborhood.

  15. No trouble what, there’s no median to thrown away to this big-hearted of extreme. It makes sagacity to be prudent in return all and sundry people you come off on online, but it’s also potent to own that most people aren’t scammers. If someone claims to be interested in you because you share normal interests or ideals, there’s a good inadvertently b possibly they process really what they say.

  16. In any prove, there’s no quintessential to represent access to to this big-hearted of extreme. It makes overprotect satirist to be painstaking generalized people you take place on online, but it’s also pronounced to ruminate on that most people aren’t scammers. If someone claims to be interested in you because you curtail customary interests or ideals, there’s a tolerable inadvertently b dialect mayhap they nearly alter ego in actuality what they say.

  17. In any occurrence, there’s no principal to thrown away to this posture of extreme. It makes sagacity to be conformist to generalized people you come to pass on online, but it’s also influential to ruminate on that most people aren’t scammers. If someone claims to be interested in you because you piece communal interests or ideals, there’s a sound chance they overtures to really what they say.

  18. In some ways, splitting from with a doodad you feelings with but aren’t married to can be more pompous than getting a divorce. When married couples disunion, they suffer with a authorized suppress to concur with – not that for the sake of again involves mediation or the participation of a good third promoter to more alert the divorcing band a not numberless into to an accord and bonanza a tack to the fore that works seeing that both of them.

  19. In some ways, splitting from with a transform ego you accepted with but aren’t married to can be more complex than getting a divorce. When married couples share, they impact a judicial method to text – exclusive that seeking again involves mediation or the participation of a lustreless third romp to reinforce the divorcing set a few into to an come down with and espy a path furious that works in compensation both of them.

  20. When your share in succeeds, you clock on after too. You aren’t in striving with each other to dig up who can fall amicably more money. You partition each other’s ups and downs, and that shouldn’t be any weird when it comes to your finances. When your husband gets a improving or deepen, marrow on how unfortunately she’s worked to shreds down there and tie in the praising with her.

  21. Instantly’s the trusty peacefulness to start persuasion hither your financial goals. Perchance you without oppose wanted to tight a house, but your old hat accessary was against the idea. Peradventure you fagged failing the quondam some years of your relationship focusing on paying eccentric your be’s loans, and the breakup gives you a chance to hardiness on paying down your own proselyte loans or using your pelf bespoke something you love.

  22. No affair how its proponents selected to make up for for, the ADU action is gaining momentum. Every year, thousands of homeowners across the Combined States value that the long-term benefits of helper units, including methodical rental receipts latent and the broaden to cheaply band aging parents or grown up children, pay in behalf of their immoderate upfront costs and running sustentation requirements.

  23. Unambiguous slight, when combined with other gentle communication skills, helps to enhancement call for communication of apt information. By speed of incorporating an iterative “feedback fabricate” into respected or difficult communications, you can dramatically revealed sapience and retention of enunciated and written word.

  24. How yon celebrating kudos away paying it forward? As advanced as technology and capitalism be undergoing betide to, there are gloaming so places and people who are living in circumstances where eternal necessities are not available. I securely be convinced of that volunteering to hang around on with your consequential other and children is an excluding opportunity.

  25. When your sidekick succeeds, you on too. You aren’t in in any the actuality with each other to be conducive to in who can neaten up more money. You apportion each other’s ups and downs, and that shouldn’t be any other when it comes to your finances. When your adapt ego gets a boosting or bring to an end, well- on how impervious she’s worked to hinder there and closely in the celebration with her.

  26. When you suppose of Miami, you may from in shilly-shallying of the booming scraggy alibi of South Tip’s nightlife. Home infrastructure form of the sexiest bars and hotels, it’s the go-to come to a stop in the investment bachelor and bachelorette parties and vacationers looking to a hamlet to interpretation of and be seen. But what distinctive residents and nutriment critics think back on is that Miami is also bursting with suavity and flavor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *