By Roland Cody, Jr.
‘Billboard’ has started to count YouTube views in their chart calculations — and they’re damn right to do so.
Billboard Magazine announced last week that its coveted Hot 100 singles chart will now count YouTube streams in its chart rankings. It’s about time! No really, it’s all about time. In the famous words of Drake, whose ranking jumped to No. 10 from 63 in large part due to the new criteria, “better late than never, but never late is better.” In other words, this move is long overdue.
Times have changed drastically since the list was originally made. The Internet, and YouTube in particular, now plays a huge role in music. If you’re going to judge what’s hot and what’s not, you need look no farther than YouTube, which gives you that answer in bold numbers listed directly below the video. Some may disagree. They may argue that YouTube doesn’t tell the true story. Well, then do downloads and record sales? Once again, it’s [all] about time. Downloads and record sales once did tell the true story of whether or not something was hot — in the same way there was once a time where ringtones did the same. Remember that? The fact of the matter is, now YouTube streams tell that story. And in an age of illegal downloading, without YouTube streams, artists may never know how hot their songs actually are.
There have recently been two singles that swept the nation thanks to YouTube. PSY’s “Gangnam Style, ”which racked up over 1 billion views, and Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” which is now No. 1 on the Hot 100 singles chart. It’s hard to imagine either one of these singles blowing up without the visuals that accompany them on YouTube – whether created by the artist as in “Gangnam Style” or, in the case of “Harlem Shake,” by a crowd-sourced viral video dance craze.
Things change with time and time changes things. The ability to adapt to change is what determines who survives. Billboard definitely made the right move here choosing to adapt to this ever-changing world of technology. But there will come a time when YouTube streams will no longer answer the question of “who’s hot and who’s not?” and Billboard will have to adapt, yet again.