Update 21. February: It looks like this experiment is over and the charts are back to the way they were. Was it a sneak preview of things to come? We'll keep this post updated.
The App Store Top Charts are one of the most popular ways to find the latest trends on the store. In fact, Apple has received some criticism in the past for an over-reliance on Top Charts for new app discovery.
But with subscriptions becoming increasingly popular, the Top Grossing charts run the danger of becoming stagnant: monthly recurring subscriptions all but guarantee certain apps a spot in the Top Grossing charts, making it almost impossible for new apps to break into the Top Grossing charts.
Now it looks like Apple may be testing out a new algorithm to fix that.
— Till Schadde (@TillSchadde) February 20, 2017
Remix the Charts
As Till noticed, it looks like recurring revenue no longer counts towards your chart position.
We’re very familiar with the charts and where the top apps in that category usually rank. This past weekend, a lot of apps in the Entertainment category suddenly dropped way down in the charts. What the heck?
A quick investigation revealed all the biggest losers offer subscriptions. And left at the top of the charts are big-name brands (such as Netflix who probably have enough new users coming in to keep them in the top spots) and paid apps.
Recurring revenue no longer counts towards your position in the Top Grossing Charts.
So far we were able to confirm this the German iOS App Store, as well as on the Mac App Store.
A boost for paid apps
This change is great for paid apps: They can compete on equal terms with subscription-based apps, now that the subscription app ranks aren't being inflated by their recurring revenue. A glance at the charts shows a lot more indie paid apps in the top 25 spots.
It's good to see Apple trying new things out on the App Store and given the emphasis placed on recurring subscriptions last year, this change makes total sense. Lets see what it does to the charts over the next few weeks!
P.S. If you like this and you're a developer, we've got two great tips for you: