By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Nov 21, 2014 at 3:02 PM Photography:

The way in which the best, most-popular songs are determined will change come December.

Billboard will change the formula used to create the Billboard 200 albums chart. That means the music industry will have to change its tactics if it still uses the chart to determine success.

Billboard is calling the move the biggest upgrade in more than 23 years, according to a report by the radio industry RAMP newsletter. The 200 chart – instead of being based only on sales – now will take into account on-demand streaming and digital track sales.

The updated method will use benchmarks for digital data from Nielsen that will convert 10 digital track sales from an album of songs and convert it to equal a single album. Around 1,500 streams from an album will also be the same as a single album sale.

"There is no denying the shift in consumer behavior from ownership to accessibility. Having the Billboard 200 now reflect pure album sales, as well as the reach of songs from those sets through track downloads and streaming, makes it a much better representation of popularity," Silvio Pietroluongo, VP of charts and data development at Billboard, told RAMP.

The new Billboard 200 will start with data from next week and then be reported online on Dec. 4. The new Top 10 will be out on Dec. 2 and the full list will be printed in Billboard’s publication on Dec. 13.

MORE CALLS: As digital companies include more services, the offerings have had to keep up in the competitive landscape.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) is expanding its Unlimited Home Phone calling plan to include free calls to China and Hong Kong.  With this expansion, calls to China and Hong Kong are now treated the same as long-distance calls anywhere in the U.S., as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Mexico, which was added to the plan earlier this year.

"We are continually looking for new ways to enhance our Home Phone offering and bring the most value to our customers," Jeff Lindsay, general manager for home phone at TWC, said in a release.

"The addition of free calling to China and Hong Kong provides a meaningful benefit and ultimately, savings, to the many customers we serve who have friends and families in these countries."

For one monthly price, customers of TWC’s Unlimited Home Phone plan get unlimited calling to landline and mobile numbers. The plan offers caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, selective call acceptance, selective call blocking, selective call forwarding, answer anywhere, enhanced 911 and other services. 

David Chen, president and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. (CPC), said, "The advancement of technology is making the global village a smaller place, but the challenge of connecting its residents remains a huge task. Among the major obstacles are access and affordability. Time Warner Cable’s expansion of free unlimited calling to over 1.3 billion residents in China and Hong Kong will go beyond just opening market frontiers, but connecting millions of families separated by distance."

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.