Recently, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that YouTube streams will count as an Album sale. Specifically, 1500 YouTube streams are the equivalent to one album. This is not the first time streaming has been implemented in album award methodology. Streams from Vevo, Apple Music, and Spotify count towards sales as well.

The formula for a streamed album is 1500 streams is equal to ten songs. Ten songs are the minimum requirement for a music project to be recognized as an album by the RIAA. There are flaws to this system.

YouTube streams affecting Billboard numbers could be negative in terms of hip-hop.

Flaws of streaming

An album reaches gold status at 500,000 sales, platinum status at 1,000,000 sales, and multi-platinum at 2,000,000 sales, respectively. Adding streams to sales has made becoming platinum relatively easy. If you're a popular rapper, your fans will stream multiple songs repeatedly and, it will as an album. Album sales today on platinum albums are mostly through streams. Digital sales run the industry in terms of sales and spot on the Billboard Top 100.

Also, streaming is not an accurate representation of buying an album. Listening to YouTube videos and, buying and listening to a full LP are two completely different experiences.

Listening to parts of an album repeatedly should not count as buying the full album.

In addition, streaming does not help fans gain full access to all of the music released. Streaming companies pay rappers for exclusive releases to their company for a period of time. Unless you buy Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and SoundCloud Go, a listener will not be able to listen to every album at its' original release date.

This encourages torrenting music as well.

Growth of the YouTube rapper

With the addition of YouTube streams to album sales, YouTubers can jumpstart a rap career with a previously built fanbase. YouTubers like Jake Paul or RiceGum with millions of subscribers can release a project and do surprisingly well strictly off streams.

Few people will actually buy their albums but, it will be promoted by the views of their subscribers.

Some YouTube Rappers are selling out venues designed for 15,000 people. So, they have a small following but, it is not enough to chart on the BillBoard Top 100. However, streaming may change that. If a YouTuber has a big enough following, they might be able to go platinum and, even receive nominations for it. Streaming potentially ruins the quality of music that is being promoted.