HITS Daily Double

Dear Mr. President Amato:

We all know the Bible has two assets: its charts and its cover. Other than that, it's basically a throwaway that nobody cares about. So why are you headed down a path to devaluating your most important asset? Increasing the influence of YouTube on your charts would do just that.

Neither Billboard nor YouTube is in the music business. YouTube says music is a small part of its ecosystem and claims it pays a reasonable price for its use, which is patently absurd. To see you teaming up with such an entity to make decisions that will be hugely counterproductive for the music business is dismaying, to say the least.

Making YouTube more important to artists by increasing its chart influence is simply reckless—not merely because they don’t pay, but also because they say 80% of their views come from what they push to their users. Which begs the question: Do you really want Lyor and his team to have that kind of marketing pull? Do you want to give them that kind of firepower?

Currently the Hot 100 is determined by dividing sales by six, BDS “audience impressions” by 7k, on-demand streaming by 1.25k and radio streaming by 2.5k. A download now equals 1,167 audience impressions, 208 on-demand streams and 416 radio streams. That’s tortuous enough; now, inexplicably, the Bible team is apparently considering giving YouTube more weight as it recalculates how to weigh paid and ad-supported streams, radio and sales.

Why not just dump the Tube, given that they are unregulated, easily manipulated, open to massive fraud and a major bone of contention to the music business? Isn’t it time to be part of the solution? Give your music partners some help in their struggle against LyorTube. Why further sink the reputation of your business, which is already widely seen as a probem? You have the opportunity here to listen to your constituents and be the good guy. Why not take it?

The alternative, for the Bible, is grim. The industry is now seriously considering making its own chart, as is done in the U.K., and getting out of business with you. Tick tock.