Billboard 200

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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 (1961–1972), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–1984), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–1985), and Billboard Top Pop Albums (1985–1992).

The chart is based mostly on sales (both at retail and digital) of albums in the United States. The weekly sales period was originally Monday to Sunday when Nielsen started tracking sales in 1991, but since July 2015, tracking week begins on Friday (to coincide with the Global Release Date of the music industry) and ends on Thursday. A new chart is published the following Tuesday with an issue post-dated to the Saturday of that week, four days later.[1] The chart's streaming schedule is also tracked from Friday to Thursday.[2] New product is released to the American market on Fridays. Digital downloads of albums are also included in Billboard 200 tabulation. Albums that are not licensed for retail sale in the United States (yet purchased in the U.S. as imports) are not eligible to chart. A long-standing policy which made titles that are sold exclusively by specific retail outlets (such as Walmart and Starbucks) ineligible for charting, was reversed on November 7, 2007, and took effect in the issue dated November 17.[3]

Beginning with the December 13, 2014 issue, Billboard updated the methodology of their album chart to also include 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 and online music sales services in the United States.[4][5] Starting on the issue dated January 18, 2020, Billboard updated the methodology to compile the chart again by incorporating video data from YouTube, along with visual plays from digital platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Vevo, and as of the issue dated March 23, 2021, Facebook.[6][7]

As of the issue dated January 29, 2022, the current number-one album on the Billboard 200 is the Encanto soundtrack by various artists.[8]

  1. ^ "Billboard Chart & Magazine Dates Now to Align Closer to Release Week". Billboard. December 19, 2017. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "Billboard to Alter Chart Tracking Week for Global Release Date". Billboard. June 24, 2015. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  3. ^ Peters, Mitchell (November 6, 2007). "Revised Chart Policy Lands Eagles at No. 1". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 19, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  4. ^ Trust, Gary (November 20, 2014). "Billboard 200 Makeover: Album Chart to Incorporate Streams & Track Sales". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 22, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  5. ^ "Boomplay streams now count towards Billboard Charts". October 14, 2021.
  6. ^ "Billboard 200 to Include Official Video Plays From YouTube, Streaming Services". Billboard. December 13, 2019. Archived from the original on December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  7. ^ Trust, Gary (March 22, 2021). "Cardi B's 'Up' Soars to No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 After Grammy Awards Performance". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 23, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  8. ^ Caulfield, Keith (January 23, 2022). "'Encanto' Soundtrack Returns to No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved January 23, 2022.

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