Pandora and iHeartRadio subscription streams to impact Billboard’s charts

Billboard will begin using Pandora Premium and iHeartRadio subscription streams to inform its Billboard 100 and Billboard 200 charts, along with other streaming-inclusive charts, the company announced this week. Before, only Pandora’s radio spins were included.

According to Pandora, the change goes into effect on July 14 and will bring nearly 6 million Pandora subscribers’ spins into the chart, from those who weren’t being counted before.

iHeartRadio’s terrestrial radio stations nor its programmed radio streams will be reported to Billboard, and won’t impact chart rankings. Instead, its All Access and Plus subscription tiers will be added to the all-genre Hot 100, Billboard 200 and genre-based song and album charts, says Billboard.

These changes are launching alongside a big revamp of how Billboard weighs streaming data for its charts.

Starting with the rankings dated July 14, which cover streaming data from June 29 through July 5, Billboard will give more weight in the chart to plays on paid subscription streaming services like Apple Music and Amazon Music, as well as the plays on the subscription tiers of hybrid (paid/ad-supported) platforms, like Spotify and Soundcloud.

Meanwhile, plays on ad-supported services like YouTube and the non-paid tiers of hybrid services (e.g. Spotify’s free tier) will be given less weight.

Pandora’s radio plays have been a part of Billboard charts, including the Hot 100, since January 2017, but the addition of another 6 million users’ on-demand streams could greatly impact the rankings.

As Pandora noted today, its app has three times the monthly active streams compared to terrestrial radio’s online platform.

“The Billboard charts are our industry’s bible,” says Jeff Zuchowski, Pandora’s VP of Artist Marketing and Industry Relations, in a statement about Pandora’s inclusion. “The fact that all three tiers of Pandora streams are now included is a major milestone not only for us and our 72 million monthly active listeners, but also recognizes, in a very powerful way, the millions of fans who listen to their favorite artists via the Pandora platform,” he said.

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