The Problem with the Billboard Music Awards

Things are getting geeky around here but this is so amusing:

*Don’t even get me started on another layer of chart-year confusion caused by Nielsen Soundscan. Since its sales-tracking technology launched in 1991, it has become possible to get a precise, January 1–December 31 ranking of the top-selling albums of the year—a list Nielsen reports every January, separately from Billboard, that differs from the Top Billboard 200 Albums list published in December. In the 23 years since the accurate sales technology debuted, the No. 1 SoundScan album of the year (measuring from January to December) has differed from the top Billboard album of the year (measuring from December to November) a total of nine times, or almost 40% of the time. Many chart analysts now use SoundScan’s data, not Billboard’s, when referring to the last two decades of top-selling albums. (So when you’re discussing, say, 2005, there is a discrepancy between Billboard’s top album, which was 50 Cent’s The Massacre, and SoundScan’s, which was Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi—Christmas sales boosted her that year.) This is what made the BBMAs’ March-to-February calendar even more infuriating for chart analysts when it materialized in 2011—it’s actually yet a third set of data. It hasn’t happened yet in the three years since Billboard brought back the televised awards, but it is easy to envision a scenario where one year Billboard magazine, Soundscan and the Billboard Music Awards will each name a different album of the year. Repeat after me, fellow geeks: ARGH.

via Pitchfork.

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