Billboard has announced that their new Hot 100 chart will now have YouTube views figured into their chart formula. The new rule went into effect this week, with the viral-video hit "Harlem Shake" debuting at No. 1. Other factors include radio airplay, digital download sales, physical single sales, on-demand audio streaming and online radio streaming. Billboard's new rule incorporates all official videos on YouTube, including Vevo.
"Harlem Shake" by Brooklyn producer Baauer has barely been played on the radio, but has had decent enough sales along with an incredible amount of YouTube views. This is how the song has debuted at number one. Had the rules not changed, it's quite possible the song wouldn't even be in the top 40.
Many people who site radio's continuing irrelevancy and YouTube's increasing popularity welcome the changes. They say Billboard has finally gotten "with the times." However, others aren't so convinced Billboard is doing the right thing.
On ABC Radio this morning, one critic noted that record companies will be able to take advantage of the new chart formula by having robot programs constantly hit the YouTube videos -- this will result in high chart positions for songs that get fake hits. He noted that the chart could be just as inaccurate as it was in the 1990s, when Mariah Carey released songs for a fifth of the price of regular singles in order to hit number one on a chart that relied mostly on sales.
In the late 1990s and 2000s, radio airplay was the biggest factor in determining a hit single. Because of this, a huge payola scandal erupted where record companies paid radio stations to play songs. Hits by Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez only became hits through this unethical practice.
Just recently, a scandal involving fake YouTube views from Lady Gaga went public, which caused YouTube to delete 156 million views from her videos. It's quite possible that some crazed fans, not her record company, had something to do with that. It is easy to manipulate YouTube views by buying an IP address changer and continually clicking on a video.
Do you agree with Billboard's new chart formula? Tell us in the Comments section.
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