Billboard has announced a change in the weight it will give to various types of streaming music services in its calculations for its charts. Consequently, Apple Music and other paid streaming music services will soon be receiving a boost in how their listening numbers are used to determine the music charts

Billboard previously classified streaming services in two categories: on-demand (such as Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube), and programmed (such as Slacker and Pandora). The main difference that will be implemented in 2018 is that these service’s listen numbers will be split into paid and ad-supported tiers from now on.

Paid services such as Apple Music and paid tiers of hybrid services such as Spotify will be given more weight in 2018. This elevates these paid services to a higher status at Billboard than free services such as YouTube and free tiers of hybrid services such as Spotify.

Billboard said this as a part of their press release:

That job has become much more complicated throughout the years. For decades, there were just physical retail sales and radio airplay, whereas today there are many ways to consume and not all are created equal – from an access perspective, from a user-control perspective, from a revenue perspective, from a fraud-protection perspective and so on. Thus, Billboard frequently reevaluates – with the advisement of our constituents (artists, labels, distributors, publishers, consumers, etc.) – how to properly measure and report this activity. It is our obligation to take all methods of distribution and consumption into consideration; similarly, it is our obligation to weigh the ramifications of any changes.

While this news will likely not significantly affect the revenue of these paid streaming services, it may give Apple, Spotify, and other companies a greater incentive to promote listening on paid tiers as opposed to advertisement-supported tiers.

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