Last week, Baauer’s highly addictive “Harlem Shake” reached the number one spot on the Billboard charts in the United States thanks to Billboard’s policy change counting YouTube music hits. However, their counterparts in the United Kingdom are hesitant to count viral video hits on their charts.
The Official Charts Company, which tracks singles sales in the United Kingdom, said today that they’re not in a rush to consider YouTube or streaming hits as part of their data.
Martin Talbot, Official Charts Company managing director, told the BBC that the Top 40 singles chart has purely been based on sales since it launched in 1952 and added: “With singles sales at an all-time high, there are no plans to incorporate streaming information in the UK.”
Billboard’s decision to add YouTube and other streaming data last week has been helpful for “Harlem Shake,” which exploded in popularity this month thanks to the plethora of videos featuring people dancing to the first 30 seconds of the song. While Baauer’s hit is on top in the United States, it’s only number 3 in the United Kingdom.
This decision is surely disappointing to YouTubers in the UK and abroad who use the platform to promote their music. What qualities made a song be considered a hit back in 1952 doesn’t necessarily translate well into 2013 because people listen to music through different channels and don’t always buy singles to show their support for an artist. If Billboard opted to focus purely on singles sales rather than other factors like radio airplay or YouTube views, then “Harlem Shake” and last year’s viral sensation “Gangnam Style” would not get the attention they deserve on the music charts.