The Billboard 200, also known as the albums chart, will begin incorporating streaming services into its calculations on December 3rd.
Although some may argue that Billboard's methods of charting hit songs and album sales will always be obsolete in the age of illegal downloading, free mixtapes and streaming services, the company's actually made quite a few changes over the past few years to modernize itself. Now, a few years after adding a separate section for "Social/Streaming" songs, the chart service will begin incorporating data from streaming services into the Billboard 200, its album sales chart, starting on December 3rd.
With Billboard calling it "the most substantial methodology update since May 1991," they hope that the new methodology will "provide a better sense of an album's popularity by reflecting not just sales, but consumption activity."
What that means in terms of data is that 10 digital track sales from an album will be counted as the equivalent of one album sale, and 1,500 song streams from an album will also count as a sale of the album in question. Billboard adds, "All of the major on-demand audio subscription services are considered, including Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play and Xbox Music."
Also, this only affects the Billboard 200 albums chart, no other charts, including genre-based albums charts, will be affected.