Many artists, musicians and rings have heard of Nielsen SoundsScan, but they’re not sure how it impacts their musical lives. The fact of the matter is that if you would like to be contained in Billboard’s graphs, then you should know about SoundScan because its at the foundation of how their graphs, and many others, work.
In the first days of the record business, the graphs were mostly derived from a phone study of record stores and r / c to know what people where buying or listening to. Obviously, this survey could be gamed and regularly was by a variety of methods easily. This changed with the introduction of SoundScan in 1991, when the ongoing company began to track sales through the inventory barcodes that each record, cassette and CD had printed on it for inventory control.
As an outcome, a far more or less accurate count of actual sales could be counted. I say pretty much because the system wasn’t perfect. In order to include the sales of the non-reporting stores in some way, SoundScan introduced a weighting system where a solitary sale at a big string store in a significant area like Chicago could be counted as multiple sales. Having said that, SoundScan is still used today, which is why it’s essential that any physical product that you release has a barcode onto it.
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