Billboard added streaming songs as one of the metrics for its charts in 2012, leading the Recording Industry Association of America and Nielsen to follow suit. The criteria have changed several times in the interim — just last month, the company made changes to weight paid streams on services like Spotify over unpaid ones on jukebox-esque services like Pandora for the Billboard 100 singles chart. Meanwhile, for the Billboard 200, 1,500 streams of any songs on one record equals one listen to that record.
As the charts struggled to come up with a streaming equivalent to an album purchase or a song download, the media has been awash with headlines touting the latest record-breaking chart numbers. Artists such as Adele, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Drake, Kanye, Lil Wayne and Post Malone are constantly breaking each others’ records, leaving bands such as Prince, the Rolling Stones and ABBA in digital obscurity.