The Hot 100 formula is Billboard’s Coca-Cola, carefully guarded recipe and all. Unlike the album charts, which are essentially a straight rundown of pure sales every week, the Hot 100’s magic lies in the streams of data that flow into it. Radio, record stores, iTunes—these are mature forms of music consumption; YouTube’s audience, on the other hand, just keeps growing. You don’t want the Hot 100 to simply reflect how big YouTube is and consequently reward any song that can catch the public’s fancy on it, like the heretofore unknown Baauer. Billboard has been remarkably good at getting the balance right over many years, and I trust they have figured out how to tame the YouTube beast—lest we lurch from dance craze to dance craze at No. 1 all year long.
Long story short: This is a necessary move on Billboard’s part, but YouTube is an 800-million-pound gorilla. Let’s hope it doesn’t crush everything.