Billboard charts adding YouTube plays?

Rights owners not happy with YouTube revenue

Billboard is rightly recognized as the Authority when it comes to music charts, and now it looks like the magazine could be adding YouTube plays into the way they calculate their charts.

Several online news sources, including hyperbot.com, are reporting that Billboard is, at the very least, ‘considering’ blending YouTube plays into their ‘spins + plays’ calculation. And this could possibly include user-generated clips rather than simply official-posted music.  However, as of today, it does not seem that Billboard and representatives of the major record labels have settled on what (if any) YouTube play data should be included in the charts.

YouTube’s ‘meagre payments’

The music industry is not exactly YouTube’s number one fan due to the meagre payments the online video giant pays out to recording artists, record labels and the owners of the songs’ copyrights.

In a report published by the GoDigital Media Group, a case is made for advertising-supported platforms such as YouTube paying a fixed CPM (cost per thousand views or streams) to rights holders. The report points out that Spotify pays approximately 75% more than YouTube for its advertising-supported model and 515% more for paid streaming.

Because labels (and many artists) feel they’re getting stiffed by YouTube, they don’t see much of a benefit in counting YouTube plays in the charts. Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, is apparently working hard to convince Billboard Editor John Amato that it’s a good idea despite rights owners’ reluctance, according to this posting at hyperbot.com.

The birth of Billboard

Billboard’s first issue, November 1, 1894

Billboard might seem like an odd name for magazine that publishes music charts, but there is a reason.  The publication first appeared in 1894 and covered the advertising and bill-posting industry: in other words, ‘outdoor’ advertising or billboards. With the growing popularity of phonographs and coin-operated juke boxes, Billboard began to cover the music industry and published its first ‘hit parade’ chart in January 1936.

Now, in addition to the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200, the magazine includes numerous ‘genre’ charts, including Country, R&B, Latin, Gospel/Christian, Rock, Dance and Electronic. Billboard has modified or updated the way it compiles its charts over the years to reflect new music delivery platforms.

Leave a Reply