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February 26th, 2013
11:29 AM ET

How Billboard counts on YouTube

By Jonathan Binder, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @jbinder

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - A recent change to how Billboard magazine measures a song's popularity means the publication now incorporates YouTube views to determine its iconic Hot 100 list.

The timing of the decision was convenient for a Brooklyn DJ named, Baauer. His song, “Harlem Shake,” started a YouTube phenomenon and launched to number one on the Billboard chart this week.

But Billboard's Director of Charts, Silvio Pietroluongo, explains the song would have made it near the top of Billboard's Hot 100 without YouTube's numbers:

[1:54] "It isn’t like it’s not getting activity somewhere else. It would have been a top 15, maybe a top 10 record before we introduced YouTube. So it’s been aided by YouTube but it’s not like it’s showing up on the chart just because of YouTube."

Pietroluongo also explained how Billboard actually tracks YouTube clicks. Plays from videos that are uploaded by the artists and record companies are counted, but Pietroluongo says there's more to it:

[2:19] "It's measuring user-generated videos that incorporate the actual recording. It's not people singing their own versions of songs – that's not going to count. But if someone has a clip that uses the official song, all of those plays roll into one and contribute to our various charts."

So now will the goal of musicians be to create a viral video? What do you think? Listen to our story and join the conversation.

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Filed under: Culture • Soundwaves • Stories • Technology
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