Adapting to what editorial director Bill Werde called “new music experiences,” Billboard magazine announced Wednesday that it will begin incorporating YouTube streams into the data used to determine its Hot 100 singles chart.
The change goes into effect with this week’s tally, topped by Baauer’s viral-video hit “Harlem Shake.” Last week, the song wasn’t even on the chart, marking only the 21st time a song has debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100, according to Billboard’s Gary Trust.
YouTube said “Harlem Shake” (in its various official incarnations) had been viewed 103 million times; the single also sold 262,000 downloads, which Trust pointed out “would have placed [the song] within the top 15 on the Hot 100 without the inclusion of YouTube streams into the calculation.”
YouTube data join a complex blend of Hot 100 charting criteria that also include digital track downloads, physical single sales, terrestrial and online radio play and on-demand streaming.
“The very definition of what it means to have a hit is ever-changing these days,” Werde said in a statement. “When the [Billboard] charts launched over 70 years ago, a hit was defined as selling copies of a single or generating airplay. While those avenues are still viable, one needn’t look any further than Cee Lo, Gotye, Psy or now Baauer to know that a song can be a massive hit on YouTube alone.”
Other songs that Billboard said had been affected by the changes this week include Rihanna’s “Stay,” which moved from No. 57 to No. 3, and Drake’s “Started from the Bottom,” which went from No. 63 to No. 10.
In the extremely unlikely event that you haven’t already heard it, listen to Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” below.