Starting this week, Billboard will no longer count streaming counts and sales of individual tracks towards various artists compilations like Epic Record's Epic AF playlist, which updates every week with the biggest tracks from artists on the label. The move is a welcome correction to what was considered to be a cynical practice that allowed record labels to effectively game the system with chart-topping playlists. The move came as Universal Music's compilation Summer Latin Hits 2017 began to appear in the top 200 albums chart thanks to its inclusion of hits like Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito.”
Billboard explained the change in a post yesterday:
Now, most various artists compilation albums will only be able to chart on the Billboard 200 and other consumption-ranked album charts based on traditional album sales. Track equivalent album (TEA) units and/or streaming equivalent album (SEA) units will no longer contribute to a [sic] various artists’ album ranking and unit count. In the latest tracking week, neither Epic AF or Summer Latin Hits 2017 sold enough in traditional album sales to rank on the Billboard 200.
The move only appears to affect the label-driven playlists that update with new hits. Movie soundtracks and thematic albums won't be affected, Billboard said.