Rolling Stone launching its own music charts, taking on Billboard

A copy of the famous Rolling Stone magazine cover featuring a nude John Lennon with his wife Yoko Ono, in Hollywood at Lennon's Walk of Fame star in 2000. David McNew/Newsmakers

After only two years of owning Rolling Stone — one of the world’s biggest media outlets — Penske Media Corp. (PMC) is promising not only big changes but major modernization for the company.

This Monday, May 13, the iconic publication is set to launch its own music charts, simply entitled the “Rolling Stone Charts.” PMC CEO Jay Penske announced the news on Tuesday morning, according to Vanity Fair.

As the second-ever music chart holders, Penske hopes to up Rolling Stone’s music coverage altogether and dominate its biggest competitor, Billboard.

General view of atmosphere at the Rolling Stone and CoverGirl at TAO on Nov. 7, 2012, in New York City. Brian Ach/WireImage

Among many innovations, the 40-year-old promised not only more detailed and accurate information regarding songs and artists, but more “transparent” streaming statistics and brand new chart categories as well.

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Along with the familiar Top 100 Singles and the Top 200 Albums charts, Rolling Stone will incorporate a Top Artist 500, which ranks the most-streamed artists of all-time, as well as the Rolling Stone Trending 25, which looks at the reigning artists of today.

In an official statement, Penske said, “What’s imperative and exciting about our new Rolling Stone Charts is that it will present a transparent, granular and real-time quantification to accurately reflect listeners’ evolving interests and give insight into worldwide trends,” according to Variety.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau snags the cover of the August edition of Rolling Stone.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau snags the cover of the August edition of Rolling Stone. Martin Schoeller for Rolling Stone

Pitchfork reported that Rolling Stone will utilize a different service for music analytics, as opposed to Billboard.

Penske reportedly adopted the relatively new Alpha Data (formerly BuzzAngle Music) service as it incorporates not only digital and physical album sales but streaming figures as well.

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The best part about Rolling Stone’s upcoming charts? According to Penske, rather than being updated weekly, like Billboard, they will be updated daily — providing a much more accurate gauge on music trends.

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Billboard has been churning out a variety of popular music charts since 1940 and ultimately — through numbers and statistics alone — has influenced exactly which artists and genres music lovers listen to across different eras.

With their competing analytics services, it’s possible that Rolling Stone might end up with different music trends, which could ultimately change standards and expectations for popular music altogether.

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