The album-equivalent unit is a measurement unit in music industry to define the consumption of music that equals the purchase of one album copy.This consumption includes streaming and song downloads in addition to traditional album sales. The album-equivalent unit was introduced in the mid-2010s as an answer to the drop of album sales in the 21st century. Album sales more than halved from 1999 to 2009, declining from a $14.6 to $6.3 billion industry. For instance, the only albums that went platinum in the United States in 2014 were the Frozen soundtrack and Taylor Swift's 1989, whereas several artists' works had in 2013.
The usage of the album-equivalent units revolutionized the charts from the "best-selling albums" ranking into the "most popular albums" ranking.The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) have used album-equivalent unit to measure their Global Recording Artist of the Year since 2013.
Beginning with the December 13, 2014, issue, the Billboard 200 albums chart revised its ranking methodology with album-equivalent unit instead of pure album sales. With this overhaul, the Billboard 200 includes on-demand streaming and digital track sales (as measured by Nielsen SoundScan) by way of a new algorithm, utilizing data from all of the major on-demand audio subscription services including Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, YouTube and formerly Xbox Music. Known as TEA (track equivalent album) and SEA (streaming equivalent album) when originally implemented, 10 song sales or 1,500 song streams from an album were treated as equivalent to one purchase of the album. Billboard continues to publish a pure album sales chart, called Top Album Sales, that maintains the traditional Billboard 200 methodology, based exclusively on Nielsen SoundScan's sales data.Taylor Swift's 1989 was the first album to top the chart with this methodology, generating 339,000 album-equivalent units (281,000 units came from pure album sales). In Billboard's February 8, 2015, issue, Now That's What I Call Music! 53 became the first album in history to miss the top position of the Billboard 200 despite being the best-selling album of the week.
In July 2018, Billboard and Nielsen revised the ratios used for streaming equivalent album units to account for the relative value of streams on paid music services like Apple Music or Amazon Music Unlimited versus ad-supported music and video platforms such as Spotify's free tier and YouTube. Under the updated album equivalent ratios, 1,250 premium audio streams, 3,750 ad-supported streams, or 3,750 video streams are equal to one album unit.
Similarly the Recording Industry Association of America, which had previously certified albums based on units sold to retail stores, began factoring streaming for their certifications in February 2016.
In the United Kingdom, the Official Charts Company has included streaming into the UK Albums Chart since March 2015.The change was decided after the massive growth of streaming; the number of tracks streamed in the UK in a year doubled from 7.5 billion in 2013 to just under 15 billion in 2014. Under the new methodology, Official Charts Company takes the 12 most-streamed tracks from an album, with the top two songs being given lesser weight so that the figure will reflect the popularity of the album as a whole rather than of one or two successful singles. The adjusted total is divided by 1000 and added to the album sales figure. Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour was the first album to top the chart with this rule. Out of its 41,000 album-equivalent units, 2,900 units came from streaming and the rest were pure sales. By the end of 2017, The BPI reported that streaming now accounts for over half of music consumption in the UK (50.4%).
In Germany, streaming began to be included on the albums chart since February 2016. Nevertheless, the German Albums Chart is used to ranking the albums based on weekly revenue, instead of units. Hence, only paid streaming is counted and must be played at least 30 seconds. At least 6 tracks of one album have to be streamed to make streams count for the album, with 12 tracks being the maximum counted. Similar to the UK chart rule, the actual streams of the top-two songs are not counted, but instead the average of the following tracks.
In Forbes , Hugh McIntyre noted that the usage of album equivalent units has made artists release albums with excessive track lists.Brian Josephs from Spin said: "If you're a thirsty (eager for fame or notoriety) pop artist of note, you can theoretically game the system by packing as many as 20 tracks into an album, in the process rolling up more album-equivalent units—and thus album "sales"—as listeners check the album out." He also criticized Chris Brown's album Heartbreak on a Full Moon which contains over 40 songs.
Music recording certification is a system of certifying that a music recording has shipped, sold, or streamed a certain number of units. The threshold quantity varies by type and by nation or territory.
The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tapes (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.
The Billboard charts tabulate the relative weekly popularity of songs and albums in the United States and elsewhere. The results are published in Billboard magazine. Billboard biz, the online extension of the Billboard charts, provides additional weekly charts, as well as Year End charts. The charts may be dedicated to a specific genre such as R&B, country, or rock, or they may cover all genres. The charts can be ranked according to sales, streams, or airplay, and for main song charts such as the Hot 100 song chart, all three data are used to compile the charts. For the Billboard 200 album chart, streams and track sales are included in addition to album sales.
American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has released seven studio albums, five extended plays (EP), two live albums, one compilation album, 55 singles, 19 promotional singles, and 44 music videos. With estimated sales of over 50 million albums and 150 million singles worldwide, Swift is one of the best-selling music artists. In the US, Swift is the third best-selling digital singles artist with 121 million certified units, is the first artist to have four albums sell over one million copies within the first week on the Billboard 200, and has sold 37.3 million albums. Her UK album and single sales stand at 3.34 million and 17 million, respectively.
Taylor Swift is the self-titled debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on October 24, 2006, by Big Machine Records. Swift was 16 years old at the time of the album's release and wrote its songs during her freshman year of high school. Swift has writing credits on all of the album's songs, including those co-written with Liz Rose. Swift experimented with several producers, ultimately choosing Nathan Chapman, who had produced her demo album. Taylor Swift is a country album, with some tracks having pop and pop rock sensibilities. Lyrically, the album speaks of romantic relationships, a couple of which Swift wrote from observing them before being in one. It also touches on Swift's friends and her personal struggles in high school.
Fearless is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. The album was released on November 11, 2008, by Big Machine Records. Swift wrote most of the songs during the time when she was promoting her self-titled debut studio album performing as an opening act for other country artists. Of the 13 tracks on the standard edition, eight were solely written by Swift, and the other were co-written by Swift with Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey, Colbie Caillat, and John Rich. Swift also made her debut as a record producer, co-producing all songs with Nathan Chapman.
Speak Now is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on October 25, 2010, by Big Machine Records. Production for the album took place during 2009 to 2010 at several recording studios, and was handled by Swift and Nathan Chapman. Written entirely by Swift as the follow-up to Fearless, and described as a loose concept album about confessions, Speak Now expands on the country pop style of her previous work, but with more rock sensibility, drawing influences from bluegrass, pop punk, pop rock and soft rock. Lyrically, it deals with themes such as love, romance, heartbreak and forgiveness.
Red is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on October 22, 2012, by Big Machine Records. Inspired by past romantic relationships evoking "red" intense, tumultuous emotions that Swift was experiencing during conception of the project, Red touches on the themes of romance and heartbreak, but represents a mature perspective, while exploring the pressure of being in the public eye. Red is a country, pop and rock record with influences from arena rock, alternative rock, dance, dubstep, electronic, folk and heartland rock; many commentators described it as a pop album, while others deemed it as a country album that sees Swift transitioning from her roots to mainstream pop, which they found to be subsequently complete with its follow-up 1989 (2014).
1989 is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on October 27, 2014, through Big Machine Records. Following the release of her fourth studio album Red (2012), which critics considered Swift's emergence from her trademark country styles to straightforward pop, Swift sought to completely move away from country. Inspired by 1980s synth-pop, she enlisted a production team whose key figures included herself, Max Martin, Shellback, Ryan Tedder, and Jack Antonoff, who helped shape the album's overall 1980s-styled sonic coherence. Martin and Swift served as the album's executive producers.
"Blank Space" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fifth studio album 1989 (2014). It was written by Swift, Max Martin and Shellback. The song was released to the radio by Republic Records on November 10, 2014 as the album's second single, after "Shake It Off" and is the second track on the album. It is an electropop song with lyrics that satirize the media's perception of Swift and her relationships.
"Style" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her fifth studio album 1989 (2014). It was written by Swift and its producers Max Martin, Shellback, and Ali Payami. Republic Records in partnership with Swift's label Big Machine released the song to US radio stations as the album's third single on February 9, 2015. Musically, "Style" incorporates disco, funk-pop, pop rock and synth-pop. The lyrics are ambiguous; contemporary publications interpreted the song as being about beauty standards and reflections on past romantic relationships.
Trapsoul is the debut studio album by American singer Bryson Tiller. It was released on October 2, 2015, by RCA Records. Recording sessions took place from 2014 to 2015, with the contributions from a variety of the record producers such as J-Louis, Epikh Pro, Ayo, Foreign Teck, Rob Holladay, Syk Sense, alongside other high profile record producers from Sango and Timbaland, among others. The album was supported by three singles: "Don't", "Exchange" and "Sorry Not Sorry".
Painting Pictures is the debut studio album by American rapper Kodak Black. It was released on March 31, 2017, by Dollaz N Dealz Entertainment, Sniper Gang and Atlantic Records. Recording sessions took place from 2016 to 2017, at the Pink House Studios in Miami, Florida, with production provided by Metro Boomin, Southside and Mike Will Made It; as well as guest appearances from Future, Young Thug, Bun B and Jeezy, among others.
Reputation is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on November 10, 2017, through Big Machine Records. The record was primarily produced by Jack Antonoff, Max Martin, Shellback and Swift herself, who also serves as the executive producer. Described by Swift as her "most cathartic album", the album is influenced by Swift's highly publicized personal life and disputes. The album's sound features a darker and heavier tone compared to Swift's previous projects, delving into her vulnerable side. Musically, it is a pop, electropop and synth-pop record that contains influences of hip hop, EDM, trap and tropical house.
The Global Recording Artist of the Year is an award presented by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) to honor the most popular recording artist based on a total of album-equivalent units, which include music downloads, streaming and physical format sales. It has been awarded every year since January 2014, with British boy band One Direction becoming the first act to receive the accolade for Global Recording Artist of 2013. This success was attributed to the band's third studio album, Midnight Memories, which became the best-selling album of the year with sales of four million copies worldwide. Taylor Swift was awarded the Global Recording Artist of 2014 after the commercial success of her fifth studio album, 1989. During the year, the album became the second global bestseller with sales of six million copies and spawned two international number-one singles, "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space".
Lover is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on August 23, 2019, through Republic Records. As the executive producer, Swift enlisted producers Jack Antonoff, Louis Bell, Frank Dukes and Joel Little for the album. Lover is primarily a pop, synth-pop, electropop and pop rock record with a retro sensibility, encompassing diverse genres such as country, funk, dream pop, folk, rock and roll, R&B, bubblegum pop, pop punk and indie pop. Defined by Swift as "a love letter to love itself", Lover celebrates the full spectrum of love and its ups and downs, incorporating lighter and brighter tones, departing from the dark sounds of its predecessor, Reputation (2017). The album's music videos and art direction marked a change in Swift's visual appearance, which now embodies a summer aesthetic, consisting mostly of pastel colors.
The Rolling Stone charts tabulate the relative weekly popularity of songs and albums in the United States. Chart data is powered by analytics firm Alpha Data and results are published on the website of pop culture magazine Rolling Stone, both of which are properties of the United States-based Penske Media Corporation.