Centralized Music Ranking
Billboard is an American music and entertainment magazine published weekly by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of MRC Media & info. It is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100, Billboard 200 and Global 200, as well as events such as the Billboard Music Awards. [1]

Billboard Music Chart

Billboard is considered one of the most reputable sources of music industry news.
It has been a standard world-famous music record chart since 1940. The charts tabulate the relative weekly popularity of songs and albums in the United States and elsewhere. It is then published in Billboard’s magazine. They rank songs based on sales (physical and digital), radio play, and online streaming. Billboard chart is powered by MRC DATA/Nielsen Music with their Music Connect, a music measurement and analytics platform. [3]

Billboard Hot 100 & Global 200

  • Billboard Hot 100 -- features the most popular songs every week across all genres, ranked by radio airplay monitored by Nielsen BDS, download sales tracked by Nielsen SoundScan, and streaming activity data provided by leading online music services. [5]
  • Billboard Global 200 -- ranks songs from 200 territories across the world. [4]

The current music ranking system and their inefficiencies

The current music ranking system takes sales into consideration, which although accurate, but, given the advent of online streaming platforms and that it’s so cheap to get a membership where you can listen to an unlimited number of songs, music sales in the form of physical CD/DVD is non-existent whereas digital downloads have reduced significantly. [6]
From this, it is clear that physical and digital sales contribute significantly less towards the commercial metrics of a song, and therefore we are left with 2 most important data points:
  • Centralized streaming platforms: There are reports which suggest that centralized streaming platforms indulge in profiteering by reducing the royalty rate it pays to content providers through the use of a recommendation system that is strategically biased in favour of cheaper content.
  • Non-interactive Radio - There is online and terrestrial radio. In the case of online radio, we are able to accurately collect the stream counts, but in the case of the terrestrial radio broadcast, which is a one-way broadcast, it is not possible to accurately collect the number of listeners and the industry depends on Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) data to estimate the listener count.
As per Billboard, it takes multiple weighted tiers of streaming plays into consideration for its music charts, including paid subscription streams (representing a full point value per play), ad-supported streams (representing a 2/3-point value per play) and programmed streams (representing a 1/2-point value per play). Those values are then applied to the chart’s formula alongside all-genre radio airplay and digital song sales data. Streaming remains the most dominant factor on the chart, followed by radio airplay and digital sales in descending order of significance.[7]
The case study of European football broadcasting rights implies that the survey of the streaming platforms is non-representative, with biased decisions at the end - [8]


"[1]," [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billboard_(magazine).
"[2]," [Online]. Available: https://www.billboard.com/charts.
"[3]," [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRC_(company).
"[4]," [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billboard_Global_200.
"[5]," [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billboard_Hot_100.
"[6]," [Online]. Available: https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/why-billboards-new-chart-changes-will-please-some-but-aggravate-others/.
"[7]," [Online]. Available: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/8427967/billboard-changes-streaming-weighting-hot-100-billboard-200.
"[8]," [Online]. Available: https://www.db-thueringen.de/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/dbt_derivate_00044949/Diskussionspapier_Nr_128.pdf.
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Billboard Music Chart
Billboard Hot 100 & Global 200
The current music ranking system and their inefficiencies