Chris Molanphy explains the impact of Billboard adopting Nielsen SoundScan data in their charts in 1991:
MARK PHILLIPS: Virtually overnight the charts got a whole lot more accurate, and the effects were huge. Chart columnist Chris Molanphy says the music industry responded to the clearer picture of what was popular by promoting not just underappreciated artists, but whole genres.
CHRIS MOLANPHY: The two I would point to most particularly are country and hip-hop. The act that SoundScan arguably made was Garth Brooks.
[MUSIC UP AND UNDER] The very first week SoundScan came online, his then current album, No Fences, shot into the top 10. It’s widely perceived that the advent of truly accurate counting allowed the industry to perceive just how popular he was for the first time and promote him accordingly.
[GARTH BROOKS SINGING/UP AND UNDER] After that moment, Garth Brooks never looked back. He spent the rest of the ’90s scoring number one album after number one album, not just on the country charts, but on the major pop album chart. He was the bestselling act of the 1990s, of any genre.