RAIN 10/12: Billboard current music charts now account for streaming

Paul Maloney
October 12, 2012 - 12:35pm

Billboard is now factoring streaming data and digital download sales into its rankings for major music charts. Billboard announced yesterday that rankings for five of its top current music charts will take into account plays on streaming services like Slacker, Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve, Rdio, and Xbox Music.

The 50-song charts will still include radio airplay data from Nielsen BDS. This is the same formula Billboard uses to create its "all-genre" Hot 100 songs ranking. The Billboard charts Hot Rock Songs, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Latin Songs, and Rap Songs will now factor plays on select streaming services, as well as digital download sales tracked by Nielsen SoundScan.

Additionally, as Billboard explains, the new methodology "will reward crossover titles receiving airplay on a multitude of formats. With digital download sales and streaming data measuring popularity on the most inclusive scale possible, it is only just the radio portion of Billboard chart calculations that includes airplay from the entire spectrum of monitored formats."

"The way people consume music continues to evolve and as a result so do our genre charts, which now track the many new ways fans experience, listen to and buy music," says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard Director of Charts. "We're proud to be offering updated genre charts that better reflect the current music landscape..."

Leading Internet radio outlet Pandora wasn't specifically mentioned, but the press release does read "among others" when listing participating streamers.

Read more in Billboard here.

Paul Maloney
October 12, 2012 - 12:35pm

According to a report, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s (CBC) new streaming music service CBC Music is losing millions of dollars because of the cost of content, and lack of advertiser support.

In an article in today's Toronto Globe and Mail, the paper predicts the service, launched in February, will lose millions annually "as the high cost of content surpasses the advertising revenue the service earns."

[Find our prior CBC Music coverage here.]

CBC offers users, who pay nothing, 40 channels of streamed music, with much of the CBC's vast collection of archived music available on-demand, plus written content and videos.

While wildly popular with listeners (7.8 million visits to the site since launch, 17.6 million hours of music streamed), advertisers have been less enthusiastic. CBC expects only $750,000 in 2012 ad revenue, for a service that will cost $6 million in royalties, production, and launch expenses this year.

Those operating similar commercial operations have complained that it's unfair to compete with a service that is free to use and funded by taxpayers. Moreover, organizations like SOCAN (which represents music composers and publishers) say the volume of music CBC Music uses should make them ineligible for the "flat rate" royalty (granted to non-commerical operators) they're allowed to pay. Commerical services pay a "per-song" royalty.

"Other companies operating in the space estimate it costs about $6 a customer to run an online service, once copyright fees, infrastructure and marketing costs are considered," the paper noted.

Commercial competitors to CBC Music in Canada include Galaxie (owned by Stingray Digital and most known for its streaming music channels on pay television systems), U.S.-based on-demand streamer Rdio, satellite radio SiriusXM Canada, and U.S.-based Internet radio and on-demand service Slacker.

Read more in The Globe and Mail here

Paul Maloney
October 12, 2012 - 12:35pm

Pollstar says, "this year might also go down as the year when (music festival) live-streams started crossing into mainstream."

About a third of this weekend's Austin City Limits Music Festival's 130 bands will have their sets streamed via YouTube. ACL will offer multiple channels from several stages, Pollstar reports, "and the production has increasingly taken on the polish of a live television broadcast." This year's Coachella festival offered three live streams of video; Lollapallooza offered two distinct channels.

AEG Digital Media has produced streaming for fests like Coachella. Chris Roach, the company's head of business development, told Pollstar, "We’ve seen the average view time is over an hour in one sitting. That’s a pretty engaged eyeball for an advertiser to put their dollar against." C3 Presents, which produces the Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits fests, says the number of stream viewers has climbed into the "high millions."

Read more in Pollstar here.