Music

Luminate Expands How It Counts Indie Retail Sales for Billboard Charts Via New Partnership

Luminate, which provides data to the Billboard charts, has signed a new partnership that will enable it to report more direct U.S. independent music retail data than ever before, the company announced Wednesday (April 24).

Under the partnership — which took effect Friday (April 19) and was jointly reached by the Coalition of Independent Music Stores, Alliance of Independent Media Stores and Department of Record Stores (who work together as Record Store Day) along with the Music Business Association — Luminate will collect independent physical music sales from StreetPulse, a music industry data provider that receives daily sales metrics directly from retailers. The data, which encompasses sales of CDs, vinyl and cassettes, will be incorporated into the physical sales data Luminate already collects directly from other stores.

To better recognize the impact of music sales at indie retail, Billboard has rebranded its Tastemaker Albums chart to Indie Store Album Sales. The weekly tally reflects top-selling titles at indie stores in the United States.

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The news follows Luminate’s controversial decision last year to retire the weighted data modeling it previously used to measure physical sales in the indie retail sector in an effort to increase the quality and accuracy of its sales metrics.

“I’d like to thank the coalitions, the retail stores, and Luminate for taking this issue seriously and working together to reach a deal,” said Portia Sabin, president of the Music Business Association, in a statement.

“Sometimes it takes a pinch to bring people together, and the industry response to the unweighting of physical data was perhaps necessary to highlight the importance of that data to our industry,” Sabin added. “I’d also like to thank so many people at the labels, distributors, and even individual artists for speaking out and helping us to reach an agreement, because whenever our industry comes together to achieve a common goal it is inspiring for our future.”

“This new partnership is the most significant development in the independent music retail industry since the creation of Record Store Day,” said Andrea Paschal of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores. “Our goal has always been to ensure comprehensive physical sales reporting, and bringing in data from StreetPulse, which collects actual sales from more U.S. indie retailers than ever before, will ensure that every purchase is cataloged and counted correctly.”

“Luminate is always working towards the goal of providing quality and accurate data to the industry,” added Chris Muratore, director of partnerships at Luminate. “We always strive to be a good partner to those across the many sectors of the music and entertainment industries, and we are happy to announce this new partnership in alignment with that mission and our values.”

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, who served as Record Store Day ambassador in 2019, said in his own statement, “We truly love …the [independent] shops. They’ve always meant the world to us. When it gets to this time when you can help out the community and the community record stores, it’s a no brainer.”

Upon hearing about the new agreement, Pearl Jam also put out a statement from the full band: “For nearly as long as we’ve been a band, there’d been a system that worked. We’re just honored to play a part… so that our beloved record stores can again have a real seat at the table.”

“Comprehensive sales figures are crucial for everyone: for artists and their label partners, for Luminate to provide accurate marketplace reporting, and for independent retailers who rightly own and control their data and the subsequent insights,” said Hannah Carlen, marketing director at Secretly Group. “Physical retail remains strong and growing, and this deal will ensure that reality is reflected in sales and total consumption figures.”

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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