Top of the Charts: The Billboard update

Keeping up with the latest releases and who is reaching that elusive, much-desired spot at the top of the charts can be very confusing. With countless streaming services for new music releases and number of opportunities to chart including Billboard’s charts (listed below), the Official Top 40 Chart, and the Official Singles Chart1, to name a few; working through the minefield of music releases can be overwhelming.

Thankfully there are some ways to simplify this.

There are also some new updates to Billboards’ charts and here is all the information you need to know about these changes. 

How does it all work?

Firstly, to keep track of that all-important chart information, the Twitter account @chartdata2 (website linked below3) is the one-stop-shop for all music chart updates and news. With 1.3 million followers, the account posts regularly to keep us all informed, for example, “@whoisgayle’s “abcdefu” simultaneously hits #1 on both Billboard Global 200 and Global 200 Excl. US singles charts this week. GAYLE’s first #1 hit.” was posted on the 10th January giving us a single update for the week. 

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Knowing the chart toppers can help artists see the current trends with the populace and network with people that have similar interests by having a look at the comment sections of accounts like this4.

Spotify, Apple and obviously, Billboard also have continuously updated music charts where you can find this much-needed information. Chart positions “give a good indication of the reception that [an artist’s] music is getting from the public”5 which can aid them in the long run to see what their fans are responding well to.

Additionally, that much coveted number one spot can open many doors for aspiring artists – think radio interviews, TV guest appearances and more recognition of their future work on different media platforms.

Now for The Billboard Update

The Billboard 200 Top 10 albums are announced Sunday, Top 10 songs (Hot 100) are announced Monday and Full charts are released on Tuesday6. Their “chart year” runs from the first week of December to the final week in November. This was previously calculated by “an inverse-point system based solely on the song’s performance on the Hot 100” as well as its total weeks spent on the chart and its “peak positions” which accumulated its year-end total. However, they are now calculated using “cumulative total of yearlong sales, streaming, and airplay points” 7

What does this actually mean?

Billboard has changed its calculation method over time, for example in 2014, they announced “it would take into account digital track sales and on-demand streaming”8. Furthermore, on the 24th July 2020, they eliminated the counting of album bundles on its charts. An album bundle “constitute the sale of an album alongside merchandise and concert tickets”9 to prevent artists using this to boost sales. Hopefully this offers a fairer opportunity for all those competing to get to the top of the charts by taking into account their streaming accomplishments and airplay as well as restricting crafty marketing ploys that can increase sales rates and could previously boost a single up to the top spot.

  4. How Chart Data Became One of Music’s Most Important Twitter Accounts | Complex
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