Billboard, Nielsen and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers have begun incorporating data from on-demand services into their weekly reporting of the most listened to songs. In a move that acknowledges the significant numbers of songs that are now heard on streaming services, on-demand streaming data is now factored into the chart’s ranking, enhancing a formula that includes digital download track sales and physical singles sales, as tracked by Nielsen SoundScan; as well as radio airplay and other streaming services, as tracked by Nielsen BDS.
According to Nielsen, on-demand streaming activity recently reached an all time high of 494 million since the beginning of 2011. The new report will include every on-demand play request and plays from unlimited listener-controlled radio channels on MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker and Spotify; data from Zune and Sony Music Unlimited is expected to be added in the coming weeks. Pandora, which is not an on-demand service, is not part of this reporting.
It’s appropriate to view this as a significant development for streaming services – one that was a long time in coming. Nonetheless, the Billboard charts are widely recognized as an authoritative source of success in the industry.
The first-ever No. 1 atop On-Demand Songs belongs to fun. and its anthemic hit “We Are Young,” featuring Janelle Monae, with a total of 1.1 million streams, according to Nielsen BDS. You can check out the on-demand chart here.