SALES PLUS STREAMING (SPS): THE TOP 25 ALBUMS YTD

At this transitional moment near the halfway point of 2016, sales plus steaming (SPS) has become the clearest way to look at what’s happening in the marketplace, as a rapidly increasing number of fans have become converts from downloads to streams, motivated in large part by ease of access. As a result, it’s become essential to look at sales plus streaming in order to get a full understanding of which artists are most important in the new musical ecosystem.

The chart on this page shows the Top 25 sales-plus-streaming albums year-to-date; these figures are derived by adding album sales—including track-equivalent albums (TEA), with 10 tracks equaling one album—and stream-equivalent albums (SEA), with 1,500 streams equaling one album. The right-hand column gives the percentage of streams in the SPS total.

This metric takes some getting used to, but, as I.B. Bad pointed out in his previous column (issue #1196), sales plus streaming is now the primary indicator of what’s hot and what’s not, and if you don’t know how to analyze these numbers, you will be at a loss to understand music’s place in pop culture today.

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