YouTube Plays Will Now Count Toward the Billboard Album Charts

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Billboard will incorporate YouTube streams into its calculations for the Billboard 200 albums chart, the company announced today. The change will go into effect on January 3, 2020. According to The New York Times, Billboard will also factor in music video plays from Apple Music, TIDAL, and VEVO, but not “user-generated content,” such as memes or cover videos.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has long been the target of ire from many musicians who believe the site does not adequately compensate artists. Back in 2016, hundreds of musicians in the United States and Europe signed letters signaling their dissatisfaction with YouTube. Trent Reznor and Thom Yorke have also been especially vocal, with Reznor once saying that the platform “is built on the backs of free, stolen content,” and Yorke comparing YouTube to Nazi Germany.

According to Midia Research, via The Times, YouTube is considered the most popular online streaming service. According to the research, 55 percent of online music streamers use YouTube, while the rest of the platforms have 37 percent of the market. Last year, YouTube launched its own streaming service, YouTube Music, in an effort to streamline the music available on the website.

Read Pitchfork’s feature “How to Be a Responsible Music Fan in the Age of Streaming.”

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