Billboard is incorporating YouTube play counts in its Hot 100 Singles formula, giving some weight to the internet’s biggest free streaming music service, reports The New York Times. Over the past few years, the publication has been working to modernize the Hot 100 formula, adding data from popular services like Spotify and Rdio, but this is the first time YouTube will be part of the mix. The timing coincides with the explosion of homemade "Harlem Shake" videos online, and consequently Baauer’s track will debut at number one on the chart this week, instead of somewhere in the top 15 if the old formula were still in place.
"There are lots of different ways a song can be a hit."
Given the degree that people rely on the internet to discover new music, the idea of tying a song’s hit status solely to sales and radio spins sounds absurdly outdated, and Billboard is slowly but surely righting its course to reflect the new realities of the music industry. Editorial Director Bill Werde tells The Times, "the music business today — much to its credit — has started to learn that there are lots of different ways a song can be a hit, and lots of different ways that the business can benefit from it being a hit." It’s just too bad that Billboard's switch didn’t come in time for "Gangnam Style." YouTube's most played video in history peaked at number two on the chart.