This week the Canadian Albums chart is re-branded with the rather un-Canadian name, the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. It is part of a re-fresh bringing the long-player list in line with how similar indexes are configured in the US and the UK.
The new chart now blends Nielsen collated on-demand streaming activity with digital track and album sales—which had previously been the only metric used to compile the album chart.
Digital tracks, called Track Equivalent Albums (TEAs), equate 10 digital track sales from an album to 1 equivalent album sale, and on-demand streams, called Stream Equivalent Albums (SEAs), equate 1,500 song streams from an album to 1 equivalent album sale.
If it sounds complicated, the formula now is as follows: Pure album sales (downloads and CDs) + TEAs + SEAs.
The big question many in the independent sector may be asking themselves is whether the addition of on-demand streams tilts the outcome in favour of globally branded acts. The first week makes it hard to see if any dramatic re-shuffling of the deck has resulted because of the influx of new releases in the upper tier of the chart, but it's early days; hopefully, FYI readers will write in and share their own views on the modification. One immediate reaction to the change is that CIMA has announced plans to launch its own Canadian independent music chart using data compiled by BuzzAngle Music. No timeline has been given for the chart's launch, but we will be following up with association President, Stuart Johnston to find out more about this development.