Watch out Billboard: Variety and Rolling Stone owner buys into Nielsen rival BuzzAngle for ‘aggressive’ music charts push

The US music charts might be set for a major shake-up.

The Stateside industry has traditionally always turned to Billboard’s historic sales-counters – including the Billboard Hot 100 (singles) and the Billboard 200 (albums) – for its weekly sales rankings.

The data for these charts is provided by Nielsen Music, under a long-standing and exclusive relationship with Billboard.

Now, Penske Media Corporation (PMC) – owner of Variety and Rolling Stone – is showing signs that it’s ready to mount a real challenge to Nielsen/Billboard’s duopoly of the US charts.

That’s the inference, anyway, in the announcement that PMC has made a strategic investment in respected US-based data and charts provider, BuzzAngle Music.

BuzzAngle’s analytics and song/stream/album/airplay rankings have been used on a B2B level for some time by a range of major players in the US industry.

PMC is now indicating it wants to take these charts public, announcing that it will “leverage some of [our] key brands, chief among them Rolling Stone, Variety, Deadline and IndieWire, to deepen the influence and expand exposure of the BuzzAngle charts in addition to creating custom charts for specific content verticals”.

BuzzAngle was launched in 2016 by Border City Media Founder, Jim Lidestri.

“We will jointly push even more aggressively to make the charts an essential and central part of music, media and the entertainment industry.”

Jay Penske, PMC

“We’re thrilled to announce our investment in BuzzAngle, and partnership with Jim and the team.” said Jay Penske, the founder, Chairman and CEO of PMC.

“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”.

BuzzAngle’s platform provides multiple sorting options, such as daily album and song sales, streaming activity, and radio airplay, all of which can be broken out market by market in the States.

“Penske Media is the perfect partner to help BuzzAngle fulfill the goals we set out to achieve at our founding.”

Jim Lidestri, BuzzAngle

It also offers limited data capture for the UK market, and is believed to be keen to flesh this out in the coming months.

The platform’s methodology allows for more than 10 trillion combinations of individualized reports for albums, songs, artists, labels and distributors.

“Penske Media is the perfect partner to help BuzzAngle fulfill the goals we set out to achieve at our founding,” said Lidestri.

“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.”

The new BuzzAngle investment was led by Michael Ye, Senior Director, Strategic Planning and Acquisition for PMC.

PMC’s interest in BuzzAngle follows its December 2017 transaction with Wenner Media, the majority owner of Rolling Stone.Music Business Worldwide

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