One Month Later — Where the Hell Is Rolling Stone’s Charts Release?

After getting heavily hyped, the industry is feeling a distinct sense of buzzkill.  But is Rolling Stone’s chart release finally arriving?

Rolling Stone owner Penske Media spent so much effort hyping up its chart release in May, you’d think the Music Charts Messiah was coming.  Instead, nearly one month later, Rolling Stone’s ambitious attempt to slay the dragons at Billboard and Nielsen Media has yet to arrive.

So what’s going on?

After nearly a month of silence, the answer to that question is anyone’s guess.  On May 11th, Rolling Stone offered a quick promise to deliver its much-anticipated charts release — but has yet to update its ‘coming soon’ placeholder.  Separately, a source at Billboard told DMN “we’re staying out of this,” though it’s hard not to imagine some level of gloating at the entrenched chart incumbent.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to dig into Rolling Stone’s game-changing rework of Billboard’s chart algorithms, if they’re indeed game changing.  But some differences could emerge between the weighting of streaming sources, including paid vs. free streams and the exact ratio of streams to more traditional formats like vinyl LPs, downloads, and CDs.

Rolling Stone’s abrupt delay followed the equally-abrupt exit of Chief Revenue Officer and Publisher Andrew Budkofsky.

The well-regarded Budkofsky left just one year after arriving, with Penske refusing to discuss any details on the exit.

Subsequent scuttlebutt pointed to problems involving BuzzAngle founder Jim Lidestri, who agreed to rebrand his baby as ‘Alpha Data’ for the big-deal Rolling Stone launch.  Lidestri told DMN that all was well with the partnership, though a recent post by Rolling Stone analyst Tim Ingham referred to the charts partner as ‘Buzzangle/Alpha data,’ raising more questions about the confusing renaming and/or rebranding.

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone is also preparing another industry-focused tier called ‘Pro‘.  The premium tier will include a “wealth of deep coverage, research tools, and inside knowledge about the music business,” though like Rolling Stone’s charts, it’s also ‘coming soon’.