YouTube changes music rankings: tricks don’t pay anymore

The video streaming giant has decided to revise its "counting" policy so as not to distort the rankings of the most viewed videos too much

In the music industry, YouTube has now become the benchmark for calculating the rankings of the most listened to songs. Google's service can now make the difference between the success or failure of a song, and songs like "Despacito" (which from January 2017 to date has totaled 6.4 billion views) prove it.

YouTube, for this reason, has changed its policy: from today, video views from paid ads will no longer be counted to calculate all the site's rankings. The change also concerns the best debut in the last 24 hours. In this way YouTube tries to reinforce its credibility in the eyes of users, offering more transparency and putting itself on par with other music rankings that count the most. Like Nielsen's and Billboard's. The artists, from now on, will be ranked according to "organic" views only. That is, all those that come from a search on YouTube, from videos related to other songs, from embeds in sites and, more generally, all those views that do not come from a click on an advertisement.

How YouTube charts work

YouTube has several charts, all automatically generated but with different purposes. The trending leaderboard is updated several times a day and serves to highlight the most viewed songs almost in real time. The most listened to tracks ranking (weekly) adds a bit of artificial intelligence: both the views of the official track and the views of videos made by users from that track (e.g. videos with "lyrics") are counted. Then there is the Most Popular Artists ranking (weekly), which takes into account the entire discography of the individual artist (including user-generated videos), remixes and featuring and shows the 100 most popular artists in the world. The Most Viewed Music Videos ranking (weekly), on the other hand, counts views of official video clips only. YouTube's charts are available in 46 countries around the world.

Stop the tricks

A high position on YouTube's local charts has a strong boosting effect on an artist's popularity. That's why for many years record companies spent billions of dollars on YouTube ads, knowing that views from the ads would propel their artist up the charts. This is no longer the case and, at least in theory, even an artist who doesn't have a major label behind him or her can get on the charts as well as one who does. This doesn't mean that you can't sponsor videos on YouTube anymore: on the contrary, this possibility remains and will still be used by record companies but, maybe, now we will have the chance to see some independent artists on the charts too.