By Roger Fingas
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 12:46 pm PT (03:46 pm ET)
Song plays on Pandora are now contributing to how songs rank on Billboard’s famous music charts, putting the streaming service in the same league as rivals like Spotify, Google, and Apple Music.
The change has immediately boosted 35 songs on the Hot 100, Billboard said. Tracks by Rob $tone, Bebe Rexha, and Rihanna are now placing higher, and in fact $tone’s “Chill Bill” is charting 10 spots better that it would have otherwise.
A Lady Gaga song, “Million Reasons,” is back on the Hot 100, while Callum Scott has entered the chart for the first time.
Pandora data will also contribute to Billboard‘s genre charts, such as Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance/Electronic Songs.
Though it has just 4.3 million paid subscribers, Pandora has over 78 million listeners in total, making it an influential player in the music industry. Apple Music by contrast has some 20 million subscribers —most if not all of them paid though, since there’s no free listening beyond an initial trial period.
Spotify remains the giant in the room, with over 100 million active users, more than 40 million of those on a paid plan.
Pandora is sitting in a kind of limbo as the only major streaming service without on-demand options. The company is working on the problem, but its Premium tier is only due to launch later this year.
Earlier this month the company announced plans to lay off 7 percent of its U.S. workforce, excluding Ticketfly, despite actually seeing an uptick in Pandora Plus subscribers. It may even be angling to sell itself, with SiriusXM rumored to be one interested party.