Billboard Radio Charts to Use Mediabase Data, Ending Dueling Charts

For years, the radio world has looked to two different sets of radio charts — the Billboard rankings, which are currently powered by BDS, owned by Luminate (formerly known as Nielsen Music), and separate charts from the airplay monitoring service Mediabase. But that dueling-charts era is coming to an end. Luminate announced Thursday morning that, beginning in December 2022, use of BDS will cease and Luminate will begin partnering with Mediabase, which it says is “known widely as the music industry standard across labels, publishers and management companies,” for the charts published in Billboard.

That will finally create an end to the confusion of whether a song has hit No. 1 on one or both charts in a given format. Of course, in the case of very close calls at the finish line, this will also mark the end of a time when songs had a shot of claiming a No. 1 at either Billboard or Mediabase.

Although artists and labels have always tended to cite a song’s Billboard chart position first, given lesser public awareness of the Mediabase charts, Thursday’s announcement by Luminate makes the case that Mediabase has been more reliable than BDS, hence the switch.

“Mediabase has proven itself to be the most trusted and referenced radio data provider in today’s fast-moving, ever-changing music industry,” said Luminate CEO Rob Jonas in a statement. “At Luminate, we pride ourselves in being able to provide our clients — whether they be major record labels, tech companies, film studios, TV networks or indie music powerhouses — with the absolute best information they need to operate and grow their businesses. This new partnership allows us to do just that.”

The company also announced Thursday that Luminate has plans to launch a new, “highly modernized” client and user platform in 2023 that will put all of the its data offerings in one place, with Mediabase as “the first of many” partners that will contribute data. Luminate promised to share more details about the coming platform, which will provide information about film and TV as well as music, in the months ahead.

Said Philippe Generali, president-CEO of Mediabase, “This new strategic partnership allows us the opportunity to be innovative in our approach to radio monitoring and to further ours and Luminate’s positions as undisputed experts in music data.”

Luminate was formerly known as P-MRC Data and, before that, Nielsen Music, long using the radio tracking service BDS to provide radio data for the airplay charts as well as contribute to the Billboard Hot 100. The transition from BDS to Mediabase will take place by the end of the year with “no disruption in radio services,” Luminate promises.

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