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Billboard charts now using YouTube

By Alex Sferrazza
On February 27, 2013


The first major viral Internet phenomenon of 2013 is arguably "The Harlem Shake."  Featuring videos of crowds of people randomly dancing to "Harlem Shake," a single by American DJ Baauer, the meme has exploded in popularity during the early weeks of 2013.  Inspired by a group of Austrian teenagers, who began the craze, hundreds of copycat videos have flooded YouTube, including versions from the "Today" show and, most recently, from 2013 Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson and his racing team.

From Rebecca Black's "Friday" to the unstoppable behemoth that is Psy's "Gangnam Style," its undeniable that many of today's most popular singles gained their stature thanks to the website Youtube

These wild viral video sensations are only a few of the many success stories attributed to the popular video clip website.

Major artists today have gotten their starts on YouTube, including Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen, the singer of "Call Me Maybe."

With all of these success stories, one wonders why it took so long for Billboard to factor in YouTube video views when determining its chart positions for the most popular songs in the country. Billboard began to factor in YouTube video views last week, a decision that has skyrocketed "Harlem Shake" to No. 1 on the Billboard charts. A Billboard press release explains that they are "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." 

Prior to this, a song's popularity was measured by how many copies were sold, number of radio plays, and so forth.

With the changes, one wonders just how much a popular hit YouTube video can influence chart position. Despite being YouTube's all-time most watched video, with well over one billion views and counting, "Gangnam Style" failed to rise to No. 1 on the U.S. Hot 100 singles chart once in 2012.

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