The rules and methodologies governing Alpha Data’s music charts are to ensure that the comprehensive data collected by Alpha Data is used to optimal effect to portray consumers’ music consumption. New rules may be adopted, as needed, to ensure that goal.
Data Update Frequency
Alpha Data processes and publishes data on a daily basis. Data from the retailers and service providers (hereby referred to as Retailers) for each day’s transactions will be processed starting at 12:00PM Eastern (UTC-5) the following day; any retailer’s data that is received after the 12:00PM deadline will be processed the following day. A seven-hour processing period will be needed to prepare and publish the data, with a target availability in the system of 11PM Eastern Time (GMT-5) each day for the previous day’s activity.
Tracking Week Definitions
1. Tracking Week: The tracking week runs from Friday through Thursday, a schedule that began July 10, 2015, with the adoption of Global Release Day.
2. Week-to-date running totals will begin with Friday’s data and will run through Wednesday’s data. Once Thursday’s data is published on the system, the previous full week will be complete. The week-to-date totals resume again with Friday’s data.
3. The start of each day will be 12:00AM Eastern Time U.S. (UTC-5).
4. Historical Tracking Weeks: Prior to the July 2015 commencement of Global Release Day, the tracking week was Monday through Sunday for all weeks leading up to and including the one that ended Sunday, June 28, 2015. The transitional tracking week that began June 29, 2015 included 11 days and ended on July 9, 2015.
Unit ranking is determined by transaction totals for the selected period. Ranking by growth is determined by the percentage change of the selected period’s transaction totals over the previous period’s transaction totals. Ties within published depths will be broken as follows:
A. The greatest gain among tied titles, or, smallest decline, if both tied titles are declining. In the event that the difference between two tied titles is the same, the tie breaks in favor of the younger title.
B. For reports determined by growth ranking, the greater sales total for the selected period. In the event that two titles tie on both growth difference and overall total, the tie breaks in favor of the younger title.
Album Sales Tracking
1. Physical sales are confined to unopened (new) product.
2. Sales will count on a 1:1 basis on all album charts. There will be no weighting for any sector of the market, including the independent store community.
3. Shipments and pre-orders of an album in advance of release date will be held until the release date and tracked as if they happened on the release date. Sales in advance of release date will be tracked and counted on the day they were sold with no protection of street date.
4. Within the top 500, all versions of an album or music video count toward that title’s sales, providing that the core content of that title’s standard album version remains included and that the bonus audio content on deluxe offerings does not exceed the running time of the standard album. There is no limit on bonus video that might be added to a deluxe version. In cases where multiple versions of an album are available, the one deemed to be the standard version must be generally available. A retailer-exclusive version can be counted as a deluxe, but not as the standard version.
5. Within the top 500, removal of songs that appear on the standard album will cause that altered version to track as a separate album. Extenuating circumstances—no physical rights for a particular song, as one example—will be considered individually for exemption.
6. Among top 500 sellers, in cases where the audio bonus content exceeds the playing time of the standard album, such versions will be tracked separately as a Super Deluxe. A title can have more than one Super Deluxe version. If multiple Super Deluxes are offered, the sales of those versions will be combined with each other, but not with the standard release.
7. A deluxe version may precede that of the standard release by three months (12 weeks). In these cases, the label or distributor will notify BCM in advance that the later version will be this title’s standard version. However, if a shorter version of that first release releases more than 12 weeks later, it will be treated as a separate album.
8. CD/DVD Combos: If a CD-DVD bundle is primarily an audio product, it will track as an album. If the content skews more toward video, it will track as a music video. The manner by which such titles are sold by digital retailers will also be a determining factor.
9. Albums sold digitally through such programs as Apple iTunes’ “Complete My Album” or Amazon Digital Music’s “Buy Remaining Songs” count toward album sales. Tracks redeemed in such programs will be not be debited as “returns” against a song’s sales. The album purchase will count in the current period and the previous song purchase will remain.
10. If two or more separate unique albums are sold together in a single package, those sales will tracked as a unique listing, separate from those of the individual titles.
11. Ticket/Album Bundles: Albums sold in conjunction with the purchase of a concert ticket or mobile app will count toward chart totals, so long as the inclusion of the album is messaged to the consumer at time of purchase. If the album is shipped to the consumer, the sale will register when that order is fulfilled. Similarly, if the album is fulfilled as a digital download, the sale is registered upon fulfillment. In the event that a CD or download card is distributed at the venue, those sales will be recorded, so long as the inclusion of the album was messaged as part of the ticket transaction. Minimum price rules still apply for the price paid for the album within the ticket bundle.
12. Direct To Fan Packages: Albums included in Direct To Fan packages, be they fan experiences or merchandise, will count toward chart totals, so long as the inclusion of the album is messaged to the consumer. Such transactions will be recorded in the same timeframes outlined in Ticket/Album Bundles.
13. Phone Premiums: If an album is offered as an embedded premium on a phone or other electronic device, such sales will count to the chart as consumers activate the download. Such products will only count as sales on the units for which the option is exercised.
1. Digital or physical singles, bundles of less than four songs, will count to the title song on the Song charts. The remaining songs on said bundles will not register these sales.
2. Digital or physical bundles of four or more songs (not different versions of the same song) will be considered EPs and appear on Album charts.
3. A maxi-single, be it digital or physical, has no limit on tracks and will count to Song charts. But, in cases where such product contains more than three songs, the EP rule applies and said items will track on Album charts.
Digital Song Sales Tracking
1. Digital song rankings combine all eligible versions of a song. There will not be a separate track ranking in which edited versions or most remixes are counted separately. Different versions of a song will be merged, so long as alternate mixes don’t distort the original song beyond recognition. In such cases among the top 500, the unique mix will track and rank separately.
2. Digital sales are tracked and counted on the day of sale. Release date will not be protected.
3. Tracks redeemed via Apple’s “Complete My Album” and the Amazon Digital Music’s “Buy Remaining Songs” programs will be not be debited as returns for a song’s sales. The album purchase will count in the current period and the previous song purchase will remain.
4. These rules apply to song sales, single sales, song streams and song airplay rankings.
Streams will count on a 1:1 basis on all streams charts. There will not be any weighting for any of the various types of streams: on-demand audio, on-demand video, programmed, ad-supported or subscription streams.
Music Video rankings reflect the sales of full-length music video projects, be they documentaries, clip compilations. Music-intensive films will be eligible in cases where digital and/or physical track such titles as music videos, but some that are released theatrically will not be reported.
Project (Total Consumption) Reporting Using Track/Stream Equivalents
Alpha Data provides the ability to run “Project” reports which use weighted equivalents in order to aggregate dissimilar consumption types into a single project or total consumption number for measurement and comparison purposes. Project Units are available for Albums and Songs.
The project total charts use an improved weighting algorithm for album and song consumption. Multi-level weighting factors for album formats (standard/deluxe), album configurations (Digital/CD/Vinyl), song stream types (audio/video), monetization methods (subscription/ad-supported) and subscription payment tiers (entry/standard/premium) are used to determine overall album and song total consumption values.
NOTE: An Album must have already been released and have at least one album sale in order to be included on an album project chart.
Alpha Data applies an additional set of rules on top of its existing processing guidelines in order to produce the official charts for our chart publication partners.
Album Sales Rules
Minimum price criteria will be applied. In cases where a digital retailer sells a title for less than $3.75 in the first month, those sales will count toward a title’s overall sales and label market share, but will not count toward that week’s chart.
Song Sales Rules
Minimum price criteria will be applied. Tracks sold for less than $0.49 in the first three months of release will not count toward the chart.
Song Streams Rules
Street date will not be protected on streaming charts.
Project Chart Rules
1. For the official album project rankings, the calculation will include album sales, song sales and on-demand streams. For the official song project rankings, the calculation will include song sales and on-demand streams. Programmed (passive) streams and Internet (Digital)/Terrestrial Radio plays do not apply to the album and song project charts.
2. A song’s consumption units (sales, streams) may only contribute to one album’s project numbers. A song’s project units will be assigned to the artist’s earliest album that contains that song. In the case of a greatest hits or compilation album from that artist, if the songs’ consumption units are being overwhelming driven from the new compilation or greatest hits album, the songs’ consumption may contribute to the overall album consumption total for the first four weeks.
3. Soundtracks, Compilations and Greatest Hits albums from Various Artists will only have their album sales counted towards their project totals, i.e. no song sales or song streams will be counted as part of the project unit total. The exception to the rule is if the song was written and recorded explicitly for that album; in that case, the song’s project units will count towards the album’s project units until the time when or if the artist includes that song on an album by the specific artist.