By Nick Patch
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO _ Taylor Swift’s fizzy smash “Shake It Off” has topped the first-ever Canadian Billboard Hot 100 chart to incorporate streaming data.
Nielsen Entertainment compiled information from streaming providers including YouTube, Rdio and Slacker for the chart released Thursday.
Streaming plays now factor in alongside sales data, radio airplay and digital downloads.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the new system was colourful rapper Nicki Minaj, whose new single “Anaconda” jumped from No. 18 to the third spot on the chart, no doubt thanks to the song’s notorious video.
Other tunes to dramatically benefit from the new formula included Pharrell’s infectious “Happy” (which hopped from the 39th slot to No. 25) and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” which leapt 10 spots to No. 20.
And in general, the newly accurate formula offers varying degrees of rewards to artists of different genres, said David Bakula, senior vice-president of industry insights with Nielsen Entertainment.
“The places you’re going to see the biggest benefits are the pop genres, the R&B crossover-type genres, hip-hop, the things that are being really consumed heavily,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Thus, perhaps greater chart positions are possible for such YouTube-friendly Canucks as Justin Bieber _ presuming he eventually returns to actually making music _ and Drake?
“Drake, absolutely, fits into that group of artists that I think should benefit,” said Bakula.
Generally speaking, comparing Canada’s streaming numbers to that of the U.S. is difficult given that Spotify was until recently unavailable here and hugely popular there.
And similar to the way that country fans were slower to adopt to purchasing music digitally, so too were Canadians.
“Right now we’re seeing the same type of things in Canada vs. the U.S. when digital downloads too hold,” he observed. “As you get streaming a little bit more engrained in the general population, I think you’re going to see that go up very quickly and maybe surpass them _ because Canada, they’re great consumers of music.”
If the new formula provides advantages to certain kinds of music, it stands to reason some unfortunate souls are going to be bypassed by those chart-hiking pop acts.
And hit hardest early on will be traditional country artists, Bakula believes.
“Not the crossover country _ you know, Taylor Swift’s fans are obviously out there,” he said.
“The transition from physical to digital from a sales standpoint just wasn’t as fast for country as it was for other genres. … What you see with country is it’s slower to adopt to digital sales, so it’ll be slower to adopt to streaming as well.”
Another trend Bakula has noticed, meanwhile, is the new longevity granted to songs that may have be considered past their prime on radio.
“Happy,” for instance, was released last November but its cheerful video is an evergreen to some.
“That single, it hit its peak, it was a great seller, a great radio song for a long time, but the streaming seems to be lengthening the life cycle of it,” he said. “That’s one of the things I think is going to be really important _ regardless of how sales or radio might go, streaming might go a completely different direction.
“There’s still a lot of people streaming ‘Gangnam Style’ right now. It’s crazy.”
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