How does Billboard’s top 200 actually work?

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You may be wondering, just as many of us at Soundlink are, how Billboard’s top 200 is determined every week? Especially with bands like Brand New, Neck Deep, Dance Gavin Dance managing to make their way into the top 20. Another thing that seems kind of odd is how many greatest hits, or just older albums in general, that make their way into the latter half of the charts.

According to Official Charts it takes 7500 to 8000 copies sold to make it into the top 40, with the average top 1 selling 100,000 to 110,000 copies. With the age of streaming and digital that has changed a bit as well since people can now buy or stream a few songs on an album and not have to buy entire albums. With that incorporated into the mix, ten track sales or 1,500 song streams from an album are treated as equivalent to one purchase of the album. Now we can see how bands like Brand New with 1 million streams on multiple tracks can chart at number 1 for their first time as a band.

Now we have to look at how albums like Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd can still be on the charts after 933 weeks, or roughly 18 years. Or another one being Michael Jackson’s Thriller. One thing I did notice was how Linkin Park was still in the top 200, maybe something to do with the unfortunate passing of their lead singer Chester. I know I browsed their discography once I heard the news and listened to a good chunk of songs.

On top of that there were a lot of greatest hits, so my guess is that when anniversary’s pass, or some news comes out about artists that are no longer together, album sales or streams increase. Or even if a movie comes out that uses their song in one of the main scenes in the film. Either way, streaming has made getting on the charts somewhat more feasible for bands that aren’t usually top 40 material. This could lead to more up and coming bands having a shot at getting their name out there, or it could mean what some are calling as the “death of the album”. That being that albums don’t sell as much as singles do these days.

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Born & Raised in Northern California Attending Chico State for BA in Music Industry & Tech Bassist of Chico Feet

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