Luminate to Move Ahead With Plan Changing How Indie Record Store Sales Count on Billboard Charts

Luminate — which provides data to the Billboard charts — is proceeding with a previously announced plan to retire its weighted data modeling used to measure physical sales in the independent retail sector, according to a note sent Wednesday (Dec. 13) to industry partners and indie retailers.

The change will take effect Dec. 29, the first day of Luminate’s 2024 calendar; and will apply to both the U.S. and Canadian markets, which are measured separately within the Luminate system.

For over 30 years, Luminate and its predecessor companies have relied on sampling of independent stores to extrapolate sales of CDs, vinyl and cassettes for the entire U.S. marketplace. 


According to the note to the industry on eliminating weighting, “the goal of this change is for us to present the most accurate data possible to the industry, which is always our primary goal.”

Luminate said that after discussions with all facets of the industry, including retailers, labels, distributors and industry bodies, it decided to proceed with its planned new way of counting indie store sector sales because there was “a consensus that the current weighted modeling should be retired.”

That “consensus” apparently is a new development because Billboard’s reporting over the last six weeks has so far found widespread industry resistance to Luminate’s planned changes for the indie sector. 

Going forward, as of Jan. 29, Luminate will count only actual sales from indie stores without extrapolating to measure sales in the entire U.S. market. As of Nov. 15, Luminate stated that it already has 93% coverage of the total U.S. physical market; and was receiving data from 95% of U.S. independent retail stores that reach over 1,000 sales per week.

Luminate’s note says it will work with the entire music industry to find solutions that make the most sense collectively for all parties. Consequently, it said there is agreement that the industry should work to increase the number of retailers reporting sales to Luminate. The company says stores not already reporting its sales can learn more at or email

Luminate said it would work with retailers and their point-of-sales systems to streamline the reporting processes; and will assign resources to liaise with indie stores to address questions and provide feedback. 

Moreover, Luminate says it will share free weekly physical sales data to all indie reporting stores in the U.S. and Canada that will reflect the best-selling titles for only the indie store sector.

The Luminate note concluded that the data company is confident that its change to actual sales without weighting “is the best way for the industry to access the highest-quality data.”

Note: Luminate is an independently operated company owned by PME TopCo, a PMC subsidiary and joint venture between Penske Media Corporation and Eldridge. Billboard is an independently operated company owned by PME Holdings, a subsidiary of PME TopCo.

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