Billboard has just added YouTube views to its methodology that ranks the top 100 songs in the United States. The change immediately pushed Baauer's 2012 single "Harlem Shake" to the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 on Wednesday.
"Harlem Shake" is best known as the music featured in the viral "Harlem Shake" video meme.
Billboard's addition of YouTube data is another attempt to keep its charts relevant, as more people access their music in digital formats. Last October, Billboard began using Nielsen SoundScan's digital-download sales numbers and streaming data — from Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music, among other services — to determine chart rankings. Charts still account for physical sales and radio airplay.
Billboard and Nielsen announced YouTube's inclusion Wednesday, saying:
Billboard is now incorporating all official videos on YouTube captured by Nielsen's streaming measurement, including Vevo on YouTube, and user-generated clips that utilize authorized audio into the Hot 100 and the Hot 100 formula-based genre charts — Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, R&B Songs, Rap Songs, Hot Latin Songs, Hot Rock Songs and Dance/Electronic Songs — to further reflect the divergent platforms for music consumption in today's world.
The changes have launched to expected uproar from artists and music writers who say the new methodology for genre-specific charts favors cross-over artists.
Singer Josh Groban tweeted "Smh," a common abbreviation of disappointment meaning "shakes my head," after learning about Wednesday's announcement.
Baauer responded on Twitter by retweeting Groban's tweet. Then they exchanged tweets.
Baauer dethroned hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Thrift Shop" on the Hot 100 singles chart. The duo's rise to the top was aided by digital downloads and streams.
Baauer's song is "the 21st song (of 1,023 No. 1s dating to the chart's 1958 launch) to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100," according to Billboard statistics.
Did Billboard make the right choice by adding YouTube data to its formula to rank top singles? Or will YouTube views reflect popular music inaccurately? Discuss in the comments.