Post by Chromeozone on Nov 8, 2007 19:04:45 GMT -5
Inspired by some conversation arising in another topic, I'd like to create a thread that focuses on general procedures of charts, etc. so we can avoid having the same questions asked in the Hot 100, Top 200 Albums, etc. threads each week.
That is, things like "double-albums are only counted as 1 sale" would go in here.
Please ask any questions about chart procedures in here so as to avoid clogging up other threads. As such, all those answering and asking are asked to please take a polite tone and realize that not everyone has been studying charts for years and understands all the rules.
Over time, this topic will hopefully provide enough of a reference so that people can just refer here to get a general idea of chart procedures.
(Edit: Additionally, anyone who would like to post information about the types of questions that are frequently asked are encouraged to do so.)
I've been following the sales figures in Geoff Mayfield's "Between The Bullets" column, and I don't see how my favorite album can be certified triple-platinum when I added up all the sales figures, and it has only sold 1.8 million copies. Can you explain this discrepancy?
Also, I noticed last week that five old albums by my favorite artist were all certified at once. Isn't this too coincidental?
My other favorite artist has sold two million copies of her first album, but it's not certified gold or platinum. And her double live album sold one million copies but is certified double-platinum. What's going on here?
It's a common misconception that certifications are based on sales to consumers. The RIAA issues gold, platinum, and now diamond certifications based on the number of units shipped to stores. So your favorite artist's latest album shipped three million copies, which is why it's already certified platinum even if all three million copies haven't passed into consumers' hands yet.
Certifications aren't automatic; labels must request and pay for them. So if five older albums were all certified at once, it just means the label decided to apply for all five at the same time, not that they all crossed the million-mark in the same month.
That also explains why your favorite female artist hasn't been certified yet, even though she's sold two million copies of her latest effort. Despite the massive sales, her label hasn't applied for certification yet.
Regarding your last question, double albums count as two, triple albums count as three, etc. So, for example, if Capitol Records shipped six million copies of Garth Brooks' double live album, the label can apply for a certification of 12 times platinum.
I'm confused about Billboard's policy when it comes to two-sided hits. I know that "It's Not Right But It's Okay" was the B-side of Whitney Houston's "Heartbreak Hotel," so why aren't the two songs listed together on the Hot 100? That's how you listed Elton John's "Candle In The Wind 1997"/"Something About The Way You Look Tonight." Hope you can clear this up for me.
Billboard's chart policy for two-sided hits has changed over the years, and the current policy went into effect in December 1998. That's when the chart changed from a singles-only chart to a singles and tracks chart, meaning that album tracks are now eligible for the Hot 100. That really made the Hot 100 a song rather than singles chart.
The current policy is that when two sides of the same single are both receiving airplay, the song with the greatest amount of airplay is designated the A-side, and will collect all of the single's sales points for that single's entire chart life.
If this policy had been in effect when "Candle In The Wind 1997" was out, that title would have been No. 1 and the B-side, "Something About The Way You Look Tonight," would not. And "Candle In The Wind 1997" would have remained No. 1 for its entire run, instead of becoming the B-side to "Something."
In the case of Whitney Houston, "It's Not Right But It's Okay" was originally the B-side of "Heartbreak Hotel," as you point out. But then Arista issued "It's Not Right" as its own A-side, with a different song as the B-side. That's when "It's Not Right" became eligible to collect its own sales points, and thus took giant leaps up the Hot 100.
The Hot 100 comes out Thursday morning on billboard.com. It may be posted here by bks as early as Wednesday evening eastern time (generally not before). There is no set time, if it shows up at 6pm eastern one week DOES NOT guarantee that it will show up at 6pm eastern every week.
Digital sales charts with sales numbers are typically are posted here as early as Wednesday morning.
The Billboard 200 with soundscan numbers gets posted here if someone has it, sometime between Wednesday of each week and never.
There is no guarantee that ANY soundscan data at all will get posted here. The sales data is generally not public information and is not cheap to get on your own.
Along with minimum sales figures, a number of other criteria accompany each title for certification. The list and table below describe what titles and types of sales can be considered for the awards. Each company that requests RIAA® certification must be a firm or corporation that has headquarters in the United States and is engaged in the legitimate production and sale of sound recordings. Recordings become eligible for certification 30 days after initial street date. Audio and music video titles may be requested for award certification starting 30 days after product is commercially available to consumers. Only domestic sales and sales to U.S. military post exchanges may be included. The requesting company must separate PX sales from other accounts on sales sheets. Export sales outside the United States are not included in certification. Club sales and club free goods may be included towards certification. Product shipped to retail, mail order, record clubs, TV marketing and other ancillary markets are combined toward certified sales. All shipments to these accounts must be verified by the label. Promotional radio and press copies, cut-outs, inventory sell-offs and surplus sales are not included toward certification. Catalog product, specifically pre-1972 album releases, are eligible for certification by meeting either the unit shipment or manufacturer's dollar requirement for each award level.
Single Gold® Certification Quantity: 500,000 units. All versions count once toward certification. Requirements: *Must contain no more than four different songs.
*Only one song is eligible.
Platinum® Certification Quantity: One million units. All versions count once toward certification. Requirements: *Must contain no more than four songs.
*Only one song is eligible.
Multi-Platinum™ Certification Quantity: Two million units. All versions count once toward certification. Requirements: *Must contain no more than four different songs.
*Only one song is eligible.
*Recertified at each million unit sales level.
Gold® Certification Quantity: 500,000 units Requirements: *Must include at least three but no more than five different songs.
*Average minimum running time is 30 minutes.
Platinum® Certification Quantity: One million units Requirements: *Must include at least three but no more than five different songs.
*Average minimum running time is 30 minutes.
Multi-Platinum™ Certification Quantity: Two million units Requirements: *Must include at least three but no more than five different songs.
*Average minimum running time is 30 minutes.
*Recertified at each million unit sales level.
Full-Length Album Gold® Certification Quantity: 500,000 units. Manufacturer's dollar volume at least $1 million based on 33 1/3% of sugg. list price Requirements: * May combine sale of all configurations.
*Enhanced CDs must contain at least 75% of audio content of regular CD.
Platinum® Certification Quantity: One million units. Manufacturer's dollar volume at lest $2 million based on 33 1/3% of sugg. list price
Requirements: *May combine sale of all configurations.
*Enhanced CDs must contain at least 75% of audio content of regular CD.
Multi-Platinum™ Certification Quantity: Two million units. Manufacturer's dollar volume at least $4 million based on 33 1/3% of the sugg. list price
Requirements: *May combine sale of all configurations.
*Enhanced CDs must contain at least 75% of audio content of regular CD.
*Recertified at each million unit sales level.
Gold® Certification Quantity: 500,000 units. Package must include two or more Cds (or its tape and album equivalent.) Requirements: *Each unit within set counts as one unit toward certification.
*Minimum running time 100 minutes.
Platinum® Certification Quantity: One million units. Package must include two or more CDs ( or its tape and album equivalent.) Requirements: *Each unit within set counts as one unit toward certification.
*Minimum running time 100 minutes.
Multi-Platinum™ Certification Quantity: Two million units. Package must include two or more Cds (or its tape and album equivalent.) Requirements: *Each unit within set counts as one unit toward certification.
The certification process begins with an independent sales audit of each title by Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, a highly respected accounting firm that has been auditing title sales for the RIAA® for more than 20 years.
The audit calculates what product has been shipped for sale, net after returns, versus product used for promotional purposes, for the life of the release. When certifying audio and music video releases, the independent auditor is careful to survey the entire music marketplace. An artist's Gold® or Platinum® award represents sales through retail, record clubs, rackjobbers, and all other ancillary markets that legitimately distribute music. Once a title’s sales has been audited and verified as having reached requisite levels, a formal certification report is issued and sent to the title's record company.
We are often asked why we don’t just use sales figures from SoundScan. SoundScan measures over-the-counter sales at music retail locations, while the RIAA®'s certification levels are based on unit shipments (minus returns) from manufacturers to a wide range of accounts, including non-retail record clubs, mail order houses, specialty stores, units shipped for Internet fulfillment or direct marketing sales, such as TV-advertised albums. The other difference is that SoundScan's archive is only a few years old, while the RIAA® has tracked artists' sales levels for more than 40 years.
Revised Chart Policy Lands Eagles At No. 1 The Eagles
November 06, 2007, 8:30 PM ET
Mitchell Peters, L.A. The Eagles' first new studio album in 28 years, "Long Road Out of Eden," takes a short route to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 after Billboard revised a significant chart policy today (Nov. 7).
In consultation with Nielsen SoundScan, Billboard will now allow exclusive album titles that are only available through one retailer to appear on The Billboard 200 and other charts, effective with this week's charts. Prior to this, proprietary titles were not eligible to appear on most Billboard charts.
Early SoundScan numbers have the Eagles taking the top perch on The Billboard 200 with 711,000 copies sold, with most sales moved by Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. For now, the only other U.S. outlets carrying "Eden" are walmart.com, where both physical copies and downloads are sold, and the Eagles' own Web site.
"Eden" became available at the mass-market chain Oct. 30. Aside from two compilations, this is the Eagles' first album since the mostly live "Hell Freezes Over," which led The Billboard 200 for two weeks in 1994.
Britney Spears' new Jive album, "Blackout," which would have been No. 1 had the Eagles' data not been reported, will open at No. 2 with first-week sales of 290,000 copies.
"We know that some retailers will be uncomfortable with this policy, but it was inevitable that Billboard's charts would ultimately widen the parameters of to reflect changes that are unfolding in music distribution," says Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of charts. "We would have preferred to make this decision earlier, but only became aware within the last 24 hours that Wal-Mart would be willing to share the data for this title with Nielsen SoundScan."
The revised policy initially impacts The Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums, where "Eden" will also bow at No. 1. Criteria for the remainder of Billboard's albums charts will be formulated later this week. A handful of other titles will debut this week on The Billboard 200 as a consequence of the policy revision.
Previously, titles that were not generally available at retail were not eligible to appear on The Billboard 200, but were entitled to chart on Billboard's Top Comprehensive Albums, which includes catalog titles and proprietary albums from retailers willing to report those sales.
The comprehensive chart will continue to appear on Billboard.biz, to show how catalog titles compete with the overall market. However, once parameters for the remainder of the album charts are determined, Top Comprehensive Music Videos will be discontinued, as exclusive titles will then be eligible for the Nielsen SoundScan-fed Top Music Videos.
And now, as promised, here is what Geoff Mayfield wrote about the change in chart policy in his column appearing in the Nov. 17 issue of Billboard:
"Long-time chart fans know that when Billboard implements a significant change in chart policy, like the one that allowed the Eagles' Wal-Mart exclusive to appear on The Billboard 200, we usually do so in a carefully-orchestrated manner, so as not to catch the music industry by surprise.
And, people who truly study our lists certainly realized that the 2003 launch of Billboard's Comprehensive Albums and Comprehensive Music Videos charts set the stage for a transition that one day would see proprietary albums appear on The Billboard 200.
But, why now, when as recently as last issue this column offered no hint such a bold revision was in view? Hard as it might be to imagine in a business that seems small as the music industry, neither Billboard nor Nielsen SoundScan had any clue until the day after the tracking week closed that Wal-Mart would ever be willing to report its exclusive offerings.
Like many label sales execs, we had assumed the exclusion of its proprietary titles from our comprehensive charts simply signaled a desire to keep that data tightly held, an attitude shared by other music merchants. Turns out the giant retail chain, and the artists who had done Wal-Mart exclusives, were not as fond of the Comprehensive Albums chart as I was. Oh, yeah, there was also the prospect of wide consumer and business press coverage of this publicly traded, multi-million dollar retailer announcing that its best selling album outsold the No. 1 title on The Billboard 200 by better than a two-to-one margin.
Never in Billboard's history had the credibility of our charts faced such a threat. It might have been that Garth Brooks' Wal-Mart box outsold System of a Down's chart-topping "Hypnotize" during Thanksgiving week of 2005, but the press paid much less attention to that possibility than it did to the notion of the Eagles being excluded from The Billboard 200. Suddenly, a policy that made a lot of sense in 1992 (that an album must be generally available at retail to qualify for Billboard's charts) seemed antiquated.
We were also in an awkward corner. Keep the Eagles numbers on the sideline, and it would appear that Billboard was not only ignoring the week's best-selling album but an obvious trend that finds artists looking at options outside the traditional label model. Change to include the band's "Long Road Out of Eden" at the 11th hour, and Britney Spears fans would assume we conspired to add yet another tale of woe to her seemingly endless trail of unfortunate headlines. Stuck in a no-win situation, the only logical option was to make the decision on journalistic merits. If the writing was already on the wall that proprietary titles would find their way on The Billboard 200 in the foreseeable future, then make the move now for the sake of a more accurate chart.
We've read and heard passionate complaints from Spears fans, and members of her camp, that it wasn't fair to change rules in the middle of the game. I understand that complaint, but the simple truth here is we're not talking baseball or football or tennis, so that analogy only goes so far. Had we waited until January to make the change, as one label president opined we should, this issue's chart would forever stand under a cloud with Spears' "Blackout" owning No. 1 with a respectable 290,000 sold in a week when everyone knew the Eagles moved 711,000 copies.
I heard juicy speculation that Eagles' manager Irving Azoff or Wal-Mart exerted enormous pressure on Billboard to chart "Eden," but in fact, the quest for the album's data was a charge we led with Nielsen SoundScan. So far as we could tell, the chain and the band seemed content for a press release to tout the album's success.
Even if we held status quo and parked Sprears' "Blackout" at No. 1, the consumer press would still find a way to belittle her feat, noting this album started at less than half the first-week sales of her last studio album in 2003. Certainly there is no shame in an artist selling less now than in earlier years. More than half of the 26 artists who have bowed at No. 1 in 2007, 15, scored smaller sales weeks than they saw in prior years. Against that background, given her adverse publicity and limited availability to promote the new album, I am actually impressed with her first-week number, but I don't expect the media at large to see it that way.
I am by no means a Britney Spears apologist, because I am sure there are many fans who are probably miffed that Britney was "robbed" of her No. 1 album this week by the Eagles. However, that is not why I am writing.
As Billboard continues to refine its chart policies, I am wondering how long the fact that a double-CD counts as two sales will stay in effect. Out of curiosity, I logged online to the major chain site that is selling the Eagles' album, and they are listing a price of $11.88. I regularly see single-disc albums listed at that price or higher.
According to Billboard's website, the Eagles' reported sales total this week is 711,000, but doesn't that actually mean that 355,500 two-CD sets were purchased? This is of course still more than Britney's 290,000. I know that this column does not deal with sales numbers, but I am wondering if you might be able to tell us more about the complexities of this issue. People are going around lauding the Eagles for selling almost 3/4 of a million copies of an album in a week, but really to me it seems they sold just over 1/3 of a million.
Thank you and have a great day!
Greg Baker Philadelphia, Penn.
As a long time reader of Billboard (30+ years---since tracking Abba's successes back in the day), I was quite disappointed with the last-minute policy change regarding retailer-exclusive titles (but that's another story).
Reading a post at a music forum, someone stated that (paraphrasing) "double CD titles get counted as two units sold, so the gap between the sales figures between the Eagles and Britney Spears was actually a lot smaller than reported." I checked the chart methodology link online and your FAQs and think that a) he was referring to the RIAA shipping rules, or b) the multi-disc sales policy may have been used a long time ago (like during the LP era). While not really a chart-specific question, I KNOW you will be able to clear this one up!
Eric Schulz Racine, Wisc.
Dear Greg and Eric,
This is an issue that has come up many times over the years, but obviously there is still some confusion about how multi-set albums are counted for the Billboard charts.
One album sold counts as one album sold, whether the CD is a single set, a double-CD, a triple-CD, or whatever. So yes, the Eagles sold over 700,000 albums, not over 350,000 albums.
Eric is right when he suggests that the double-CD counting as two CDs is the policy of the RIAA, the industry trade association that issues gold and platinum certifications. The RIAA issues certifications based on the number of units shipped to stores, not units sold to consumers. So if a label ships one million copies of a double-CD, the RIAA counts this as two million albums.
Just to say it again for the sake of clarity, Nielsen SoundScan counts one CD sold as one CD sold, even if that CD is a double or triple set.
This is from a U2 board, but it is still a nice reference article discussing chart methodology & what is counted for downloads & sales. I'm snipping out the parts that are purely U2-related and leaving in the explanations of Billboard charts.
Interview: Geoff Mayfield, Billboard Director of Charts and Senior Analyst By Devlin Smith, Contributing Editor 2004.12
...To get the bottom of how Billboard creates its charts, as well as get insight into the retail end of the record business, Interference.com spoke with Geoff Mayfield, director of charts and senior analyst with Billboard. What do you do as the director of charts and senior analyst?
My primary job is to oversee the charts department, which compiles more than 40 charts for Billboard, most of them sales charts or radio charts. Our department wants to make sure that we're making the best use of the data thats provided to us to assist readers in determining not only what's most popular but what the trends are and things like that, and to make sure that the charts are a helpful map in determining popularity. My senior analyst cap primarily is borne through the column ["Between the Bullets"] that I write that analyzes album sales as well as assisting the editorial department in identifying trends.
Who are these charts intended for?
They are the absolute report card for recording companies and they are a road map for either people who have to make decisions about buying music or video product, or for people who program either video or radio channels.
How exactly is the album chart put together?
All of our sales charts are based on data provided to us by Nielsen SoundScan, and Nielsen SoundScan has been in business since 1991 and they use the actual point of sale systems that retailers themselves use to track inventory. It's not like a separate system where when you make a purchase the cashier has to remember to scan something twice, it takes the actual information from the cash register and from that we have a universe that represents more than 90 percent of the US retail marketplace. You can be very comfortable about predicting national numbers to not only report what happened within the panel but what the actual overall sales would have been if you had the other remainder of the marketplace reporting.
The only thing I can think of that counts things for a living that might have a larger universe would be the box office for films, which is essentially almost 100 percent of that marketplace is represented in that sample. But when you look at TV ratings, radio ratings, Gallup Polls or other political polls, the sample is usually a fraction of 1 percent. Very few things that count things for a living have the luxury of a sample that counts more than 90 percent.
Sampling retail sales is not a new concept, music was a little bit late to it, its already happened in pharmaceuticals and the food industry before music picked it up, and the toy industry also had a pool together before the music industry picked it up. With that said, I don't know of any other field that picks up retail data that has as large a sample as Nielsen SoundScan has in the music market.
What was the system before SoundScan?
Before that people would report to us their best sellers according to rank, so we would get like their 20 best sellers and we would assign points, the highest point value going to the title that was reported the best seller and then a declining scale from there. Then there were a certain amount of titles that retailers could report as strong and then another certain amount of titles that retailers could sort as good, and we weighted the accounts that reported to us but that data still wasn't as specific, if you had two chains that did about the same volume.
At the time there was a chain called Camelot Music that did most of its business in malls, it was primarily the eastern part of the US and Texas, and they didnt come much further west than their Texas stores, and they did about the same volume as Wherehouse that had most of its stores in California, with a heavy concentration of stores all west, including Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and they tended to have larger stores, they had some malls stores. They had about equal market share, you could take maybe the same two records and if Camelots top record was ahead of the No. 2 record by a small margin and then you went over to that other chain and found that the same two titles were on top of the chart but in an inverse order, and one of those might have a much larger sales tally than the other. In the system we had, as well meaning as it was, those two titles would have come out a wash because the reporting chains had the same weight and those votes would kind of cancel each other out when, in fact, if you had looked at how those two titles sold at those two companies one of them might have had a clear advantage that you couldn't capture without that important piece which was not only was it your top seller but how many did it make to be your top seller.
Thats the other thing that you realize when you get chance to look at more specific data is that some No. 1s are bigger than. The other problem is there's a maximum number of points you can have the way we used to do it, so you could have a big record and now its fighting to keep its place at No. 1 because it can only go down from the maximum number of points it earns. Whereas if you have a system that's built on specific data and something truly is dominating the marketplace, it's easier for that title to remain number one as long as it deserves to because if its outselling the No. 2 title by 600,000 or 500,000 or a significant margin, its lead is protected as long as its outselling all of the others.
For a lot of reasons [SoundScan works better], and speed of chart as well. Some accounts we had to call actually on the Friday prior to publication and then we tried to have as many of the big ones as possible on Monday, but you were missing that weekend business from the people reporting on Friday. The other advantage of having point of sale and the system we have now is its much faster if there's an impact from an appearance on or an appearance on Oprah Winfrey or anything like that. It's much more common, there were only six albums that had debuted at No. 1 in our old system and now its a pretty common sight to see an album debut at No. 1 in the Billboard 200, and that is more a reflection of how things actually sell in the marketplace.
How often are you getting this sales information?
We only get a pull from SoundScan once a week. With some retailers, they are gathering data more than once a week but the final processing happens on Monday and Tuesday and we only get data from them once its been completely processed. On rare occasions we have to rerun the chart on a Wednesday because after it goes up someone will discover that theres a discrepancy that was not rectified during the processing, but by and large the chart that we receive on Tuesday is the same chart that will stand at the end of the day on Wednesday. Nielsen SoundScan puts its charts up for their subscribers on Wednesday morning.
Now that we have so many additional ways that people purchase than we did in 1991,do things like Amazon.com count?
Absolutely. Nielsen SoundScan has a vested interest in making sure its as complete as possible so not only did they go to the Amazon.com world as soon as it could, but it also went to digital sales as soon as it could. Not long after iTunes happened, iTunes happened, I want to say, in March of last year, and by the middle of the year Nielsen SoundScan was collecting data not only from iTunes but any other cyber service that was selling downloads was also represented in that sample and theyve kept up with it. They added the PC platform for iTunes when it came out, they added Napster when it came out, they added Sony Connect, so theyve really stayed on top of that, the Walmart.com, because they, as well as Billboard, have a vested interest in continuing to represent as complete a picture as possible. If we had stuck ourselves in the corner where we were only counting physical sales with the knowledge that digital distribution would become an increasingly important sector as we go forward, that would be a mistake.
Do iTunes sales then count on the singles chart?
If someone buys the whole album, it will count, yes. If someone goes in and buys eight out of 12 tracks, that will count toward individual track sales, but if someone actually goes in and purchases the entire bundle, so that everything that is on the physical album is on that bundle, then that will count as an album sale. The same with singles, which is a little confusing. If they have actually packaged a single that has not just the lead song that people are interested in but the same B-tracks that are included on the retail-available single, which is a smaller and small consideration these days because, unfortunately, there's just not a lot of singles that are made for market anymore, but if the bundle has the same content as the retail-available single and is identified by a UPC code, then that will count toward the singles chart. But most of the transactions were getting from iTunes and its competitors are individual track sales.
How are singles being counted now since theyre not being sold as often as they once were?
We still count them its just that the numbers are really, really small. We added [the digital] chart as soon as Nielsen SoundScan began to count digital tracks and the volume already was ahead of where retail singles are. Not long after the lead was like 10 to 1 and now its greater than that. It's a very unfair comparison because there's a wide assortment of hits that are made available in the digital marketplace and there are very few hits that are made available in the singles marketplace, and then on top of that, because there's been such constricted variety of material available, retailers frankly had to abandon making sections of their stores dedicates to singles, theres just not enough titles, theres not enough variety for them to have a large singles section in their stores the way they used to. Even if a hit does come to market, its sales potential is limited.
[snipped-out U2-related stuff]
When counting sales, if someone comes out with a boxed set or double CD, does that count as one or multiple sales?
There is a lot of confusion about thata unit is a unit. The reason people get confused about that is that the RIAA, the process that establishes gold and platinum albums is independent of the tracking that comprises our charts. If you have a boxed set, they multiply those shipments by three if theres three CDs, and with double albums, if its over a certain length, they will do the same thing with that as they do with boxed sets. But for us a unit is a unit.
How much of a difference is there between what your numbers say and what the RIAA says?
They usually bear each other out. There can be fluctuations. One of the things we don't track are typical record club sales, and I have to qualify that because it used to be we didnt do record clubs at all. Now record clubs, especially in Latin music, can be involved with the up front marketing of an album. Before we really didnt want to track record club because it was all after market, an album would be out for six months, or even a year, before it got added to record club and then you would have this artificial spike that happened only because this after market had picked up that title. But now if there is direct marketing that happens, we do count those kinds of sales. I have to qualify, we no longer exclude record clubs but the only transactions that Im aware of that are tracked are proactive at the beginning of a release as opposed to the old model where an album came to record clubs a half year or a year after it hit market. In those cases, like if you look at The Bodyguard, for instance, which is an older album, its certification level is a few million higher that its SoundScan number and the difference is the record club.
In advance of creating these charts does pre-analysis and hedging of bets go on?
I don't really do a lot of that because it happens so fast. You can speculate and speculate as much as you want but you really don't have a true sense how much something is going to sell until it actually has a chance to start selling. If something ships large that tells you retailers have confidence that its going to sell big. It used to be that you had to ship twice as many records as you were going to register in your first week, so if you were going to have a first week of 500,000, you needed to ship 1 million to get that. The shipping model is more efficient now, weve actually seen a lot of cases where you dont have to ship as much product to yield a big number, but there is something about you have to send a certain amount of copies to the wrong stores to have the right amount of copies in the right stores, so I think thats in play. But really none of it means anything until the consumer gets the chance to say whether theyre going to buy it or not.
A case in point was the last 98 Degrees album, that had come after other boy bands, had had really, really large albums and really, really large first weeks and I think that there was a lot of confidence by a lot of retailer that 98 Degrees was going to have similar success so they had a huge ship. Their first week was okay but compared to what they shipped, it didn't look that big. Every once in a while youll have something which kind of makes any speculation you do before it comes to market kind of a moot point.
The other thing is you have to remember is not so much what the short game it, it's what the long game is and sometimes people get kind of wrapped up in what the first week number is and really whats important is hows it going to sell at the end of the day. a good case, Eminem shipped close to 4 million copies, well you think hes guaranteed to have a million-plus week but there was a fly in the ointment, they had to rush release that to market, they had to bring it out with an abbreviated sales week. It sold over 700,000 copies in its first week and sold more than 800,000 copies in its second week, and thats still 1.5 million copies in the space of about 10 or 11 days, and thats a more important number to me than whether he had a million-plus week.
What days does your chart reflect?
The tracking week ends on Sunday, so its a Monday through Sunday. Some of the accounts we report report Sunday through Saturday, but the tracking week officially goes Monday through Sunday.
So why then do new records get released in the US on Tuesday when theyre released on Monday in other parts of the world?
The US adopted Tuesday as a street date in the late '80s, I dont remember the exact year now. Here's the problem with Monday, more and more stores receive new releases not from their warehouse but directly from the manufacturer. In the scenario where it comes from your warehouse, it will go to wherever your depot is and then it will ship out and youre responsible for making sure it gets to the store on time, that it doesn't get out before it's supposed to get out. But with more and more new releases going directly from the record company to the store, then the store is dependent on the UPS route and youre at a competitive disadvantage if its the day that the U2 album came to market and your competitor gets it an hour before you do or, worse, they get it several hours before you do. They made Tuesday the street date saying, "Were still going to ship on Monday but you have to hold that product until Tuesday so that no matter what time you open, you have the product available," so thats why they changed it. Whether you were at the beginning of the UPS route or at the end of the UPS route, you were going to have the same advantage.
sorry if this question doesn't belong here, but when do albums get moved to the catalog chart? if that even the name of the chart? haven't Some Hearts and even the Nickelback album been on the charts for over 2 years now? just wondering. thanks.
i wish Kelly's numbers were just alittle higher.
Albums 2 years old and older and have fallen below #100 are moved to the catalog chart.
Now this is 2 years from the release date and not based on chart weeks. An album could in theory debut on the catalog chart if it is over 2 years old and never charted on the Billboard 200
Post by realnewlight on Dec 1, 2007 16:39:18 GMT -5
Hm, I am not really sure this belongs here...but I was not sure whre else to put it, so I'll give it a shot.
Does the order in which songwriters are credited for a song mean anything? Are the writers listed first responsible for more of the writing, and therefore more of the royalties? How is this devided up? Or is it just completely random?
All non-holiday titles that are more than two years old and have fallen below #100 are ineligible for the Billboard 200 and thus chart on the catalog chart. The two years is measured from the release date and not charted weeks. Thus it is possible for an album to have its first charted week be on the catalog chart.
Holiday titles are removed from the Billboard 200 and moved to catalog status after the year of its initial release.
Billboard year: The chart year that is used to compile "year-end" charts for the annual year-end magazine. The chart year rund from mid-November of the prior year to mid-November of the current year. Another way to think of it is the first week of the new chart year is the first issue date of December. The Billboard year differs from the calendar year because of publishing deadlines for the year-end magazine. Otherwise they would not have year-end charts for the year-end magazine
Calendar year - January 1 thru December 31. Billboard publishes charts for this too. Usually around the 3rd week of January. Soundscan will issue an annual report in the first week of January. Charts that come from Calendar year stems from the ACTUAL year.
The difference between the calendar year and Billboard year is 7 weeks. The Billboard year starts 7 weeks earlier
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Indeed, Josh Groban's "Noel" is, at the time of this writing (Dec. 20), 2007's top selling album.
However, for Billboard's year-end charts (which reflects activity on the charts dated Dec. 2, 2006 through Nov. 24, 2007), Daughtry's self-titled album is tops.
That chart year actually reflects activity in the marketplace from about late-November 2006 through mid-November 2007.
Wait, why is it that the charts are dated one thing, but that isn't the real "week ending" date?
Billboard - like many magazines - dates its magazine and charts ahead. So, for example, we just finished compiling the charts dated Dec. 29. However, those charts really reflect information and chart activity for the week ending Dec. 16 or 18, depending on which chart you look at.
Why does our "chart year" end so early?
In order for us to produce year-end charts and a magazine in time to arrive on newsstands and in subscribers hands before the end of the year, we must close out our charts before the end of the year. Otherwise, you'd get year-end charts some time in late January!
Unfortunately, because of how we structure our "chart year," sometimes our year-end No. 1 Billboard 200 album isn't the same as the calendar year's top-selling album according to Nielsen SoundScan.
As for "Noel," it debuted on The Billboard 200 on the chart dated Oct. 27, 2007. It accumulated 385,000 in sales during the five weeks it charted during the 2007 chart year (which ended on Nov. 24). So, for the year-end 2007 Billboard 200 albums chart, "Noel" actually comes in at No. 135.
How much has "Noel" racked up in sales accumulated during the 2008 chart year (which began with the Dec. 1 Billboard 200 chart)? So far, it has moved 2.4 million in the 2008 chart year.
Remember, our year-end charts only reflect activity of titles while they were on the chart.
So, if "Noel" falls off the chart in January (which it no doubt will, as all Christmas albums do), but continues to sell a handful of copies through the rest of 2008, we will not count those non-charting sales towards the year-end charts.
Do video streams on Yahoo and AOL count towards the BB Hot 100? Can you all post something about the chart breakdown...
"While both the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs factor radio audience and physical retail sales into their respective formulas, the Hot 100 also includes weekly digital downloads and online streams from AOL and Yahoo in the calculation.
"In the present Hot 100 formula, radio audience accounts for about 55 per cent of chart points, 40 per cent is from digital downloads and five per cent comes from online streams. Physical retail sales account for less than one per cent.
New Chart Parameters for Billboard, Nielsen SoundScan January 08, 2008 | Retail
By Mitchell Peters, L.A.
Billboard starts the New Year off with new criteria for catalog albums on its sales charts. The first tracking week of 2008 also sees Nielsen SoundScan raising the profile of the Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands designated market area (DMA).
Under Billboard's new chart rules, albums that rank lower than No. 100 on The Billboard 200 will be deemed catalog 18 months after release. In the magazine's original catalog rules -- established in May 1991 when The Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums adopted Nielsen SoundScan data -- albums were considered catalog two years after release unless they still appeared on any Billboard album chart.
After the remainder of the magazine's charts converted to SoundScan data, Billboard revised catalog criteria in 1993, still using the two-year standard, but moving titles to catalog status if they no longer ranked No. 100 or higher on The Billboard 200.
Albums also retain current status if a single is still growing at a Nielsen BDS-monitored radio format, a stipulation that Billboard added in 2000. That rule, and the one that retains current consideration for albums in the top half of The Billboard 200, both continue with this shift to 18 months.
Billboard applied the two-year standard before Nielsen SoundScan began using 18 months to determine catalog strata in its marketing reports. Each of the four major distribution companies advocated a shorter window for Billboard's catalog rule. SoundScan also considers classical and jazz albums to be catalog after one year of release, but Billboard will use the 18-month rule for all albums, regardless of genre.
"This is a common-sense adjustment that brings our catalog charts and our current-albums charts more in line with the way that record companies and retailers view their business," says Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of charts.
The start of the year also prompts the shift of the Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands DMA. That market cluster previously showed up under Nielsen SoundScan's extended DMA reports and contributed to "Other Markets."
With this change, Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands, the 13th largest radio market, according to Arbitron, brings the number of DMA's featured by Nielsen SoundScan to 101.
25-05-59 30 Best Selling STEREOphonic LPs 04-01-60 30 Stereo Action Charts (<20 wks, 29 since 30-5-60) 20 Essential Inventory-Stereo (>19 wks,30 since 30-5-60) 09-01-61 15 Action Charts-Stereophonic (<10 wks) 03-04-61 50 Top LP's-Stereo
17-08-63 150 Top LP's (one chart) 04-01-67 175 Top LP's 13-05-67 200 Top LP's (Top 200 Albums since 20-10-84) 14-03-91 - The Billboard 200 Top Albums 25-05-91 - Soundscan sales info & methodology 18-01-97 - Chart rule: removal 2-year old albums from main chart if position > 100 06-12-03 - Comprehensive Albums Chart (includes catalog & exclusive albums) 19-01-08 - Chart rule: removal 18-month old albums from main chart if position > 100
I know I may sound like an idiot but yeah I have quite a lot of questions:
1) What is the general ratio of physical albums to digital albums in the US? In Australia its pretty much 95% physical and 5% digital.
2) In the third post, which I do understand was in Nov 2007, it says that "Digital sales charts with sales numbers are typically are posted here as early as Wednesday morning." Where can I find this?
3) How popular is iTunes is making up the digital album charts?
The reason why I am so curious is because my favourite artist Delta Goodrem was released stateside on July 15 and on iTunes shes been pretty much at #20 overall and #5 on Pop all week so far and I want a general idea of how she will chart. If theres any other tips you can help me out with - I'd love to hear it.
If this doesnt get a response here - which I wouldnt be surprised to because the post above me was in March - I will make a new topic...
First of all, thank you for always mollifying us chart freaks with answers about Billboard's chart policies!
iTunes released four of the Jonas Brothers' singles before their actual album came out and all four debuted in the top 20 due to digital sales ("Burnin' Up" at No. 5, "Pushin' Me Away" at No. 16, "Tonight" at No. 8 and "A Little Bit Longer" at No. 11).
When the Jonas Brothers' album came out, it sold 525,000 copies in its first week. If you had purchased any of the four singles on iTunes, you could complete the album when it came out. Does completing your album count as buying an album? It doesn't seem fair to get points for singles sales and then also get album sales. I am utterly confused, so please clear up this question.
Aaron Aceves Los Angeles, Calif.
It's a good question, one that was never an issue until iTunes introduced the completion process. When I was growing up, you couldn't buy 45s and then purchase the rest of the tracks on an album to have the complete LP.
To get an accurate and detailed answer to your query, I turned to Billboard's director of charts and senior analyst Geoff Mayfield. Here's what he had to say:
"When a consumer completes an album, the original tracks that were bought individually get processed as returns. That means that as albums are completed, charting songs will have some sales subtracted from the title's sales in the weeks such returns are processed. However, the original sale continues to count in the week the song purchase was made."
In other words, we don't go back and and refigure the charts, as what's done is done. But when the "singles" are processed as "returns," the total sales numbers for a given song would be subtracted from that sales week's total.
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