The Billboard 200 used to be the most important album chart in the known universe. The more your album sold, the higher it climbed.
But then came streaming and sales of physical product went into free fall. To compensate, the industry decided that 1,500 streams from an album
Take this week’s chart. Sitting at #1 is Hoodie SZN by Bronx rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoddie. The dude exploded on streaming services, racking up 83 million on-demand streams. Using Billboard’s 1,500 streams = one album formula, he was credited with selling the equivalent of physical albums 55,333 albums.
Add in sales of digital tracks, digital versions of the albums, and physical CD sales, Billboard came up with a final number of about 58,000 albums sold, good enough for the #1 spot.
But back up. Out of those 58,000 “equivalent album units,” only 823 were actual physical CDs.
In other words, A Boogie Wit a Hoodie made it to number one on the Billboard album chart by selling just 823 CDs. How times have changed.