New Billboard Albums Chart Methodology Sends Veterans Plummeting; Pink Floyd Down 6 to 33

As we suspected when Billboard announced their new Albums chart methodology, veteran artists have taken a real hit.

Under Billboard's new rules, not only are sales used to rank the top albums in the U.S., but so are streams of album tracks, at the ratio of 1,500 streamed tracks to 1 album unit sale, and purchases of individual tracks on digital sites, at a ratio of 10 tracks to 1 album sale.

The problem for veteran artists is that both streaming and the practice of cherry picking tracks from albums tends to skew heavily to younger music fans who support younger, newer artists. The veterans are forced to compete with a much higher percentage of their "sales" being attributed to full album purchases rather than the other two criteria.

This is reflected on the latest Billboard Albums chart, released on Thursday. Three major album artists had been working the top ten for the last two weeks but have now dropped out.

The Foo Fighters, who started at number 2 and fell to 7 in their second week now see their Sonic Highways drop to 16.

A much more serious fall happened to the highly anticipated Pink Floyd album, The Endless River. The album opened at number 3 two weeks ago and went to 6 last week but falls all the way to 33 in its third week of release.

The artists fairing the best is Garth Brooks who started lowest two weeks ago at 4 but only dropped one to 5 last week and down to 11 this week. Brooks was already hampered by his unwillingness to sell digital versions of his new album via the standard retailers, instead choosing his own download site, so his relatively small drop show a resilience in the sales of physical product and the streaming of the album by fans.

Other big drops occurred for Barbra Streisand (15 to 25), Bette Midler (17 to 47) and George Strait (26 to 52).

As far as debuts, it was a very quiet week with only the Beatles debuting at 196 with the Long Tall Sally EP.

The top five on the Billboard Albums chart:
  1. 1989 - Taylor Swift
  2. That's Christmas to Me - Pentatonix
  3. Shady XV - Various Artists
  4. FOUR - One Direction
  5. In the Lonely Hour - Sam Smith
The top five singles:
  1. Blank Space - Taylor Swift 
  2. All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor
  3. Take Me to the Church - Hozier
  4. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
  5. Animals - Maroon 5
Veteran artists at the top of other Billboard charts:
  • Country Albums - Man Against Machine - Garth Brooks
  • Bluegrass Albums - Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn - Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
  • Jazz Albums - Cheek to Cheek - Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
  • New Age Albums - 30/40 - Mannheim Steamroller
  • Comedy Albums - Mandatory Fun - Weird Al Yankovic
  • Tastemaker Albums - Long Tall Sally (EP) - Beatles
  • Rock Airplay - Something For Nothing - Foo Fighters
  • Alternative Songs - Something For Nothing Foo Fighters
  • Mainstream Rock Songs - Something For Nothing Foo Fighters
  • Hot Country Songs - Shotgun Rider - Tim McGraw
  • Country Airplay - Somewhere in My Car - Keith Urban
  • Smooth Jazz Songs - Head Over Heals - Peter White
  • Holiday Airplay - A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives

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