The days of MTV actually emulating Music Television are long gone, but it doesn’t mean we’re not watching music videos. In fact, over 800 million unique users visit websites like YouTube each month. Artists can achieve more exposure than ever, without the help of Carson Daily’s cheesy comments and tweens screaming over the chorus. So its no surprise that Billboard and YouTube have decided to join forces to include viral videos as a factor in some of the charts. The internet has provided us with the ability to share everything with each other at any given moment, making it possible for all sorts of deserving talent to be recognized, not just through record sales or top 40 radio play. This allows the artist to impress us in more ways than one, giving any potential listener another aspect to admire, share, disapprove and even comment on.
What does this mean for record sales? Probably nothing. Between music streaming websites like Pandora and Spotify, and easy access to downloading songs for free online–there’s little hope for rebounding. It’s clear that the music business is adapting to expand their ways of obtaining revenue, maintaining ample amount of exposure for all eyes and ears of new and existing fans by means of viral video. This new relationship is a major leap for the online video industry, giving record labels a chance to promote their artist through online video ads.
Historically, Billboard has always followed to where people are consuming music. Charts that once considered sheet music sales and jukebox plays have been replaced by ring tones and digital downloads. Adapting to modern times, there’s no denying YouTube’s affect on music and popular culture. Incorporating play counts in the Hot 100 Singles formula is a step to reflect the new realities of the music industry. With the music video allowing artists to show as much originality as possible, it becomes even more of a promotional tool. This new understanding that there are lots of different ways a song can be a hit, and lots of different ways that the business can benefit from it being a hit may just be the this industry’s saving grace.