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Billboard Feels the Power of YouTube
By: Greg Dorn
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They say that the first time may be an accident, but the second time proves to be no fluke. After South Korean artist Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became the most-watched video ever on YouTube (over a billion views), Billboard had no choice but to take notice. Now that the newest viral craze “Harlem Shake” has blown up on the Internet, Billboard has once again modernized the way they construct their 55-year-old Hot 100 singles chart.
Although its origins trace back as far as 1894, Billboard Magazine began ranking the popularity of music singles since August of 1958. Given the limited ways people embraced and consumed a particular song, the chart had to rely solely on physical sales and radio airplay. My, how things have changed.
The reality is that people are finding a plethora of new ways to consume music and entertainment that cannot be measured simply by sales. Most people don’t even bother to technically “own” their music anymore, relying on methods such as piracy or the flourishing rise of streaming music services. In fact, in the last couple of years, Billboard has incorporated the likes of Spotify and Pandora when issuing their weekly Hot 100. It goes without saying that the music industry has followed the trends of consumers and found new ways to qualify a song as a hit.
However, it didn’t stop there, not by a long shot. After the sensational success of “Gangnam Style” and now the viral explosion of the “Harlem Shake," Billboard has broken new ground by integrating YouTube into the mix. The magazine has been in talks with the video site for about two years regarding this revolutionary move, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Last week, after reaching 103 million views and 262,000 digital downloads, “Harlem Shake” has debuted at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100
It goes without saying that YouTube has not only helped the popularity of artists and their music, it has served as a platform to single-handedly propel them to a number-one status. We’ve seen it with Justin Bieber and can even trace the recognition of songs such as “Call Me Maybe” and OK Go’s “Here it Goes Again” (the treadmill song) to the video-sharing site. We’ve come a long way from ripping open a vinyl 45 to determine a song’s rank. Time will tell what other means will emerge for consumers to shoot a song to the very top of the charts.

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About the Author
Greg Dorn is a blogger, writer, and obsessed with everything technology and social media. Greg is absolutely captivated with the recent advancements in mobile gadgets, making our world more seamlessly connected. You can learn more about him on his own blog here
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