Billboard to Give Gospel and Christian Song Charts 'Consumer-Influenced Facelift'

Billboard announced yesterday that they will update their Christian and gospel song charts by including digital download sales and online streaming data in addition to their existing radio airplay method to determine song rankings.

The music chart company will implement the new change beginning Thursday and considers the effort a "major consumer-influenced facelift." Currently, their charts are monitored by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems and will now incorporate information derived from YoutTube, Spotify, Xbox Music among other data sources, bringing the charts up to date in its ranking system like the Billboard Hot 100, country, hip-hop and rock songs lists.

"We are extremely excited to add Christian and Gospel to our growing list of consumer-influenced rankings, which are in the mold of our flagship songs chart, the Hot 100," said Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard director of charts. "Incorporating download sales and streaming data to existing radio airplay provides a more holistic view of a song's popularity."

The new methodology, which will utilize the Hot 100's formula of integrating airplay from over 1,200 radio stations of all genres, will reward tracks receiving airplay on other formats, specifically for many songs that are played on urban stations, especially during Sunday morning specialty programming.

Billboard will also launch new streaming-only charts titled "Christian Streaming Songs" and "Gospel Streaming Songs," which will provide a third chart for all faith-based music once they are added to the existing airplay and digital download charts for each genre.

While the history of gospel music dates back to the 18th century and is partly focused on urban, African-American music, Christian songs are considered, at times, more mainstream with faith-based themes. Billboard charts have popularized Christian songs since 2003 and Gospel tracks since 2005, while digital song rankings were launched for both genres in 2010.

Considered to be the world's premier music publication, Billboard has served the entertainment business for over a century. In 1984, the company began as a weekly for the billposting and advertising business and has now evolved into the primary source of information for music through its magazine and website.

For this week's Christian and gospel Billboard charts, click here.