is an information and sales tracking system created by Mike Fine and Mike Shalett. Soundscan is the official method of tracking sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada. Data is collected weekly and made available every Wednesday to subscribers, which include executives from all facets of record companies, publishing firms, music retailers, independent promoters, film and TV, and artist management. SoundScan is the sales source for the Billboard
music charts, making it the official source of sales records in the music industry.
Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data for Nielsen
since March 1, 1991. The May 25 issue of Billboard
published Billboard 200
and Country Music charts based on SoundScan "piece count data,"S. Craig Watkins, Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement,
Beacon Press, August 15, 2006, ISBN 0807009865 and the first Hot 100 chart to debut with the system was released on November 30, 1991. Previously, Billboard
tracked sales by calling stores across the U.S. and asking about sales - a method that was inherently error-prone and open to outright fraud.
The Recording Industry Association of America
also tracks sales (or more specifically, shipments less potential returns) on a long-term basis through the RIAA......