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> Do music charts still have a place?
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Chez Wombat
post Feb 23 2021, 06:57 PM
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I think while they still give a decent indicator on current music trends, most of the main interest comes from one-off special events like Captain Tom's single and the Christmas charts and even then it's a lot more limited. Not really surprising - coupled with there being so much more music out there than there had been in the past, streaming services and social media being the preferred platform to radio for younger people and the very slow nature of the chart and complex rules of ACR making it less accessible to the average person just adds up to a decreased relevance.

I say it all the time, but one thing they really struggle with (at least in this country) is representing a wide range of music. While pop, dance and hip hop or some combination of the three are still reliable sellers, there are many artists that get huge buzz from online music critics, yet don't chart. I'm thinking Haim in particular who are a recognisable name, but had no top 40 hits last era and when I look at a list of critic-rated top songs of the year, there's quite a few that haven't charted unless they have a distinctly mainstream sound. I suppose this isn't a new thing and has only increased in the 21st Century, but I do feel the charts have got really bad at representing indie music.
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Sour Candy
post Feb 24 2021, 05:50 AM
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I don't think the Average Joe mentioned on the previous page has ever know which songs are top 5 hits and which are not. I would assume that being #1 has been a bigger deal in the past though.
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Iz 💀
post Feb 24 2021, 07:03 AM
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QUOTE(Chez Wombat @ Feb 23 2021, 06:57 PM) *
I say it all the time, but one thing they really struggle with (at least in this country) is representing a wide range of music. While pop, dance and hip hop or some combination of the three are still reliable sellers, there are many artists that get huge buzz from online music critics, yet don't chart. I'm thinking Haim in particular who are a recognisable name, but had no top 40 hits last era and when I look at a list of critic-rated top songs of the year, there's quite a few that haven't charted unless they have a distinctly mainstream sound. I suppose this isn't a new thing and has only increased in the 21st Century, but I do feel the charts have got really bad at representing indie music.


Yup, though generally people who are really into music will be into the big indie artists just as much if not more than the big pop artists (based on how well the likes of Sufjan trend whenever they release new material), the numbers that streaming requires dwarfs out indie artists when in the past, the majority of indie listeners would have made a sale, certainly the majority of current big chart pop listeners wouldn't.

How do you draw the line between engaged listeners and casual listens? Because while the former is subjective, that's the sort of thing, fandoms and passion, that drives interest. No easy answers. I'd like the chart to take notice of trending (music-related) topics and more punishing ACR, but otherwise, if you want people to care about it, it needs to be better for people's schedules and made a bigger deal of by artists - and as long as they're getting the streaming plays and reaching everyone interested in their musical niche through algorithms, I'm not sure as many do, certainly less than before.
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T Boy
post Feb 24 2021, 08:53 AM
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QUOTE(JosephStyles @ Feb 23 2021, 06:41 PM) *
The younger generation definitely get more of a say nowadays and, to be fair, they were the ones who missed out before. Younger people have less disposable income to spend on music - I know I didn't buy as much as I'd have loved to when I was young because my pocket money could only get me so many CDs / downloads. I don't think the charts have ever been a completely level playing field across all age groups and there's little that can be done to change that.

Music charts definitely have a place though the general public interest is lower than it used to be. That doesn't mean there's no interest at all and I don't believe streaming has anything to do with it (it's been the case at least since I started following the charts closely, which was ~2011). That said, stan Twitter loves following the charts and they even seem clued up on ACR rules! I don't think ACR is offputting to anyone who isn't a close chart follower - the average Joe won't know what it is and probably won't have been following closely enough in the first place to notice it was hanging around the top 10 for weeks on end. If they wanted to know, there are explanations in the OCC chart rules.

Passive listening on playlists has a big impact on the chart but there's always been outside factors that can help or hinder songs. Stock in shops, differing formats (some songs would have been hindered by one CD format when others had two, for example), price reductions (notably seen in the 59p iTunes reductions) and radio playlists are big factors that influenced the sales-only charts. Of course you'd still have to convince someone to part with their cash for a song and that's why a sale will always count for more than a stream, but there's clearly something to be said for a song that is able to get millions of streams every week - that's not entirely "passive playlists"!


I think itís incorrect to say the younger generation missed out before. Average pocket money would have been enough to buy a single every week back in the 90s and many downloads once they came in. Where itís true that older people had more money, they were less likely to buy singles and certainly not the ones at the top of the charts. I remember Saturday morning at the shops with my parents and HMV and Virgin were a massive treat. Iíd buy a single every few weeks and so would my brother and sister. My mum and dad bought singles but not as often. What I meant by level playing field is that much older artists could usually snag a top 40 hit by appealing to grandparents whereas now thereís no way that could happen. Charts have always leaned towards the younger generation but the difference is now, itís just leaning towards the passive listeners.

You mention not being able to buy all the music you wanted before streaming-well that was how life was. If you were going to buy a single, you really loved it and playing it at home was a proper event. You appreciated that CD so much. But music has become much more disposable and I do believe the charts are mainly being affected by people who donít really care about music. This obviously isnít the case for everyone but itís a clear downside of the streaming era for me and as a result itís made the chart less interesting and a bit pointless.
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AcerBen
post Feb 24 2021, 09:48 AM
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QUOTE(T Boy @ Feb 23 2021, 06:24 PM) *
I disagree. I think itís affected by passive listening to playlists more than anyone will admit but even regardless, itís only representing a certain demographic. I donít stream much music, I listen to CDs, vinyl, etc. so my consumption isnít fairly represented and Iím not the only person whoíll be doing this. Plus with rules like ACR and the three track rule, the charts are distorted even this way. Most people donít know why long running top 10 hits suddenly drop to low end top 30 after 10 weeks.

When the chart was sales only, everything was pretty fair game. Iím not asking for streaming to go now itís here but it has made the chart less interesting and actually less important.


Yes. Fleetwood Mac is the exception - and they're only there because of young people anyway. It was the physical era when anything could chart, whether it was the latest boyband or indie band, or Cliff Richard or Daniel O'Donnell.
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AcerBen
post Feb 24 2021, 09:53 AM
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QUOTE(JosephStyles @ Feb 23 2021, 06:41 PM) *
The younger generation definitely get more of a say nowadays and, to be fair, they were the ones who missed out before. Younger people have less disposable income to spend on music - I know I didn't buy as much as I'd have loved to when I was young because my pocket money could only get me so many CDs / downloads. I don't think the charts have ever been a completely level playing field across all age groups and there's little that can be done to change that.

Music charts definitely have a place though the general public interest is lower than it used to be. That doesn't mean there's no interest at all and I don't believe streaming has anything to do with it (it's been the case at least since I started following the charts closely, which was ~2011). That said, stan Twitter loves following the charts and they even seem clued up on ACR rules! I don't think ACR is offputting to anyone who isn't a close chart follower - the average Joe won't know what it is and probably won't have been following closely enough in the first place to notice it was hanging around the top 10 for weeks on end. If they wanted to know, there are explanations in the OCC chart rules.

Passive listening on playlists has a big impact on the chart but there's always been outside factors that can help or hinder songs. Stock in shops, differing formats (some songs would have been hindered by one CD format when others had two, for example), price reductions (notably seen in the 59p iTunes reductions) and radio playlists are big factors that influenced the sales-only charts. Of course you'd still have to convince someone to part with their cash for a song and that's why a sale will always count for more than a stream, but there's clearly something to be said for a song that is able to get millions of streams every week - that's not entirely "passive playlists"!


The problem I have with "curated" playlists, compared to any other sort of variable like airplay, promotion, stock, price or whatever, is that they have a *direct* impact on the chart. i.e. if you've just put on a playlist in the background and not bothered enough to skip anything, you are contributing to the chart. It's barely any more meaningful that including airplay.

Whereas before, however you might have been manipulated to do it, you still had to make an active decision to part with your money and buy a song for it to register.
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gooddelta
post Feb 24 2021, 10:41 AM
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It's ironic that now younger people DO arguably contribute more to the charts than ever before, the trend of novelty songs and music actually aimed at children charting (aside from the odd exception, like Baby Shark) has now evaporated. Are children under 10 for example now just listening to music aimed at audiences way older than them, or are they consuming 'kids music' in some other way?

I know not many kids did, but I used to spend pretty much ALL of my pocket money on music between the ages of about 11-14. I think I got something like £5 a week overall, and would generally buy one or two singles while the rest would be saved up for the next Now or Hits compilation or more rarely an artist album - I really had to love the act to buy those at that age, and tended more to wait for birthdays/Christmas - if there was no singles out that I wanted that week.
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Smint
post Feb 24 2021, 10:41 AM
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I think one of the clearest indications that the charts were losing relevance in the streaming era was when Drake's 'One Dance' had 15 weeks at no.1 and like no-one cared and it had extremely little media attention. Compared with Bryan Adams, Wet Wet Wet or even Rihanna's long tenure at the top previously.
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Liam.k.
post Feb 24 2021, 10:47 AM
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QUOTE(gooddelta @ Feb 24 2021, 10:41 AM) *
Are children under 10 for example now just listening to music aimed at audiences way older than them, or are they consuming 'kids music' in some other way?

I'd say the former given how many kids, even under 10, are on TikTok.
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WhoOdyssey
post Feb 24 2021, 10:56 AM
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Wouldn't the "kids novelty hits" like Baby Shark, Bob the Builder etc be more aimed at under 5's though - who probably aren't on TikTok
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coi
post Feb 24 2021, 11:16 AM
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I think the 'kids music' is often being consumed on YouTube in particular, the OCC's video streaming chart has stuff like Baby Shark, Gummy Bear, Crazy Frog etc permanently in there.
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Liam.k.
post Feb 24 2021, 11:17 AM
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I have no idea who is actually listening to it but I don't think any kids nowadays are listening to 'Gummy Bear' or 'Crazy Frog', are they?
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WhoOdyssey
post Feb 24 2021, 11:18 AM
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QUOTE(coi @ Feb 24 2021, 11:16 AM) *
I think the 'kids music' is often being consumed on YouTube in particular, the OCC's video streaming chart has stuff like Baby Shark, Gummy Bear, Crazy Frog etc permanently in there.

Oh that's very true, there's loads of odd compilations with *millions* of views!
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dan :: G
post Feb 24 2021, 11:18 AM
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let's not forget we have a prime example of "kids music" right at the top of the chart currently in "Drivers License" - of course it has appeal to other age groups too but I suspect it's being primarily consumed by the teen/tween market.
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Bjork
post Feb 24 2021, 11:32 AM
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Id say Baby Shark is music for babies rather than kids, for ages 1-5
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AcerBen
post Feb 24 2021, 01:01 PM
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Baby Shark is a bit of an odd example but if you're talking more about manufactured pop that used to be aimed at children (like S Club 7, Lolly, B*Witched), it is odd that there's so little of that.

But I think kids (as in under 14) aren't listening to music as much as they used to. The kids I know don't seem to be that interested in it. They've all got iPads and other stuff to keep them entertained. Surely it's the 14-21 sort of age range that is really deciding the charts.


This post has been edited by AcerBen: Feb 24 2021, 01:01 PM
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fiesta
post Feb 24 2021, 08:17 PM
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The charts aren't as popular anymore because social media is the new thing that entertains the youth of the day. Many years ago before the internet or even computers THE thing to do was buy records and listen / watch the chart show for teenagers.
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