The US Chart Wars Heat Up — PMC Makes a Strategic Investment in BuzzAngle

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Can Penske Media Corporation and BuzzAngle Music finally make music charts understandable?

When you think of music charts, you immediately think of Billboard.  Yet, admittedly, Billboard’s charts aren’t as clear as the music industry would hope.

So, last year, at the behest of labels, artists, distributors, and publishers, Billboard announced it would update its music charts.  Nielsen Music, of course, exclusively provides the data to Billboard.

The company vowed to better weigh paid vs. ad-supported streams (Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc.), programmed streams (Pandora), and music video streams (YouTube).  It would also address direct-to-consumer offers, concert ticket/album bundle sales, and the rise of promotions that incentivize consumer streaming.

Furthermore, Billboard would update its Hot 100, Billboard 200, Streaming Songs, Top YouTube Songs, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Rock Songs, K-Pop Hot 100, Latin, Christian, and pretty much every other chart.

Sound clear enough for you?  Never mind that Drake’s purposefully-long 25-track album, Scorpion, has successfully gamed Billboard’s obfuscated album sales charts.  And it won’t be the last time that happens.

Now, one digital media company has an idea – why not streamline song charts so that people actually understand what they mean?

BuzzAngle, PMC’s new weapon to take on Nielsen Music.

Earlier this morning, Penske Media Corporation (PMC) – owner of Variety and Rolling Stone – announced it has made a strategic investment in BuzzAngle Music.  Michael Ye, Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Acquisition for PMC, led the BuzzAngle investment.  The company didn’t specify the financial details.

In a statement, PMC said the move will “leverage some of [our] key brands, chief among them Rolling Stone, Variety, Deadline, and IndieWire, to deepen the influence and expand the exposure of the BuzzAngle charts in addition to creating custom charts for specific content verticals.”

Unlike Billboard, BuzzAngle Music provides easy-to-read charts with countless sorting options.  The analytics service, for example, releases daily album and song sales, streaming activity, and radio airplay broken down by market.  BuzzAngle’s methodology also allows for over ten trillion combinations of daily individualized reports, perfect for albums, songs, artists, labels, and distributors in multiple countries.

BuzzAngle will also reportedly beef up its UK sales charts in the coming year.

“BuzzAngle has already accomplished many milestones — but as part of this new alliance, we will jointly push even more aggressively to make the charts an essential and central part of music, media and the entertainment industry,” said Jay Penske, founder, chairman, and CEO of PMC.

Jim Lidestri, founder of Border City Media, launched BuzzAngle Music in 2016.  “The needed funding will accelerate product development, and the reach of Variety and Rolling Stone will provide an unparalleled ability to bring charts and data analysis both to the music industry and to music fans worldwide,” Lidestri said.

Today’s investment marks Penske’s first major move following its December acquisition of Rolling Stone from Wenner Media.


Featured image by Sander van der Werl (CC by 2.0)