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Billboard shakes up charts to include digital, streaming data

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LOS ANGELES, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Billboard shook up itssingles charts for country, Latin and hip-hop music on Thursdayby including digital download sales and streaming data fromservices like Spotify, Rhapsody and others in its weeklyrankings.

The move follows Billboard's decision earlier this year toincorporate the fast-growing digital market into the Hot 100singles chart, which includes all music genres.

In addition, Billboard said in a statement it has launched anew chart for R&B songs that will use the same hybrid formulaand will separate R&B from rap or hip-hop singles.

Billboard uses data provided by Nielsen SoundScan to compileits weekly chart of the top albums and singles in dozens ofdifferent categories.

The new system reflects a more inclusive approach tocompiling the most popular singles in the United States.

In the past, the charts for Latin, R&B and country singleshave been determined mainly by air play on radio stations thatplay music exclusively in respective genre.

From Thursday, airplay data will be compiled from more than1,200 radio stations across the United States under a formulathat recognizes and rewards cross-over artists, such ascountry-pop singer Taylor Swift.

"With digital downloads hitting record highs and streamingservices such as Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio, MOG,Sony Music Unlimited and Xbox Music continuing to grow, theimpact of digital music is growing more and more pronounced,"Jim Donio, president of the National Association of RecordingMerchandisers (NARM), said in a statement.

"We are happy to see that Billboard recognizes this trendand is taking steps to ensure that its charts will continue toserve as the industry standard well into the future," Doniosaid.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bill Trott)

((jill.serjeant1@thomsonreuters.com)(213 955 6749))

Keywords: MUSIC BILLBOARD/