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Robbie
post Feb 2 2021, 11:11 AM
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From the OCC:

The Official Charts and Hits: 2020 book released

Official Charts Company launches its first chart review of the year, covering 2020.


The Official Charts Company is extending its data book publishing ventures with the launch of its first chart review of the year, covering 2020.

The new book, The Official Charts & Hits: 2020, is available from this week and includes every Official Singles Chart and Official Albums Chart Top 75, plus Top 20 Official Compilations Chart of 2020.

In addition, the book features a digest of all of the artists who reached the charts during the year, including brief biographical information, plus details of awards and honours.

https://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/t...eleased__32345/


This post has been edited by Robbie: Feb 2 2021, 11:14 AM
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Robbie
post Feb 2 2021, 11:12 AM
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Interesting that the charts are limited to the top 75 and not the full top 100 that is published each week on the OCC website.
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AcerBen
post Feb 2 2021, 11:51 AM
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QUOTE(Robbie @ Feb 2 2021, 11:12 AM) *
Interesting that the charts are limited to the top 75 and not the full top 100 that is published each week on the OCC website.


I suppose it's better to be consistent with the previous books.
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diva thin muffin
post Feb 2 2021, 06:24 PM
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Wait, it's just a book with each chart of the year and no text on the matter?
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jszmiles
post Feb 3 2021, 12:51 AM
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why they are still obsessed with that 75 number
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Gambo
post Feb 3 2021, 03:46 PM
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As KingofSkiffle says over on UKMix, it's likely to do with as much with limiting page-count for a printed book as it is with preserving exclusivity of their website content. So driving up internet traffic for those who want to view the current or previous full Top 100 and reducing outgoings on publishing a book that probably will only attract a small audience and may struggle to recoup its costs, are both in the OCC's interest.

Though beyond these two perfectly legitimate purposes I do think there is an element of adhering to the Top 75 only by habit in the OCC. I suspect this is down to two factors. First, the continuing policy of Music Week to only print the Top 75 as it has done for 38 years. That decision was again probably motivated mainly by practical printing concerns, as publishing a chart each week with 25 more rungs would've created space issues and possible cost impacts if they had to move to publishing it on two rather than one page. The fact that a Top 100 has been available online since I think April 2005 via Yahoo! when the OCC began phasing digital sales into the singles count, and later via their own site, seems to have had no bearing on MW's approach, nor that of its chart consultants, both of whom always adhered stringently to reporting on Top 75 events with little mention of those outside it, in line with what readers would find in the printed edition. One might imagine that would soon change given the printed incarnation of MW is to move to a monthly publication, but as long as a weekly chart report is written and posted on their digital site, I suspect they'll still limit this to the 75, as old habits die hard, and of course it's more work for the chart consultant to report on a whole 100 placings!

Secondly, it is possibly because it chimes with the long-term history of published chart books (spearheaded by Guinness) that only covered entries that registered with the first three quartiles of the 100 in any week. There is a comforting continuity in a statistical sense in offering as consistent a window on the charts as possible, and so sticking to a 75, at least since May 1978 when one was first published, may have an ostensible appeal on that basis. Moreover, from January 1983 to April 2005, it made more sense to retain a No 75 threshold for the official singles charts, as while positions 1 to 75 were essentially an authentic ranking of the biggest-selling titles in the past 7 days, those from 76 to 100 (or 200 in the extended industry-only table) were subject to sales-based exclusions and so didn't compare like-for-like with the first three quarters of the list. Indeed, Gambaccini and Co gave this as a justification for not using the full 100 in early editions of their British Hit Singles books, and other authors since followed suit. So until the dawn of the download era, one could say that sticking to just the 75 gave the 'cleanest' picture of chart hits available for the preceding 25+ years and one which enabled a fair comparison of weekly rankings from one year to another.

However, the more one learns about the inconsistencies and changes in chart methodology and rules over the decades, the less clear-cut that picture gets, and the argument for retaining any sort of threshold for presentation of chart data starts to weaken, beyond just limits of space and cost. So for example sales-based restrictions were quietly applied to positions 41-75 in the early '00s to try and counter 'bargain bin' buys. From April 2005 to December 2006 the entire chart was partial thanks to exclusions of certain titles that were only available on download with no concurrent physical release. After a period of pretty genuine Top 100s that reflected bestsellers 1 to 100, came the inclusion of audio streaming from July 2014 which added an entirely different mode of consumption to the official charts based on an arbitrary 100:1 conversion ratio and so rendered comparisons with earlier sales-only counterparts arguably worthless. And of course since July 2017 the whole official Top 100 has been subject to artificial manipulation thanks to ACR and the 3-song cap aimed at damping-down the undesirable side-effects of streaming, making it even less valid to try and present it in any chart book as standing shoulder-to-shoulder with its pre-restriction forebears of any size. So, it now seems to me that sticking to just the Top 75, or even to the whole Top 100 say from from January 2007 when restrictions were removed and all sales counted, is a fool's errand because these portions of the singles chart (less so with albums) can only be considered consistent and meaningful when compared with each other until the rules changed again to compromise that continuity (and accuracy) across all its positions. If only the bottom quarter of our chart had ever been affected by these measures that render them effectively artificial and inconsistent, then we could defend the position of sticking to the 75 with some conviction. But in eras where they were applied to some or all positions below, there is no threshold one could safely use that would leave us with truly untainted 'pure' charts of a fixed size across all decades.

Therefore I'd say they should publish as much as they can in retrospective chart publications such as this - i.e. as much as is published each week which is now the Top 100 - while acknowledging openly the rules that were/are in play which have distorted some or all the positions attributed to tracks each week in any given era. It's a shame the OCC's site is inconsistent on the size of the weekly singles chart offered in its archive, only offering a Top 100 from Jan '83 to Apr '91 when Record Mirror published the full 100, and again from Feb '94 when Millward Brown took over compilation duties. But that's mostly to do with them having neither the staff nor inclination to go through scores of old pre-Feb '94 paper Gallup chart reports in the old BPI Library and digitise the 76 to 100 segments of each one! Though understandable, there's many a chart enthusiast who'd probably have preferred they'd spent time and money on doing that than publishing a printed book of chart info for the last year, most if not all of which is already freely-available from their own and other open sources online!
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kingofskiffle
post Feb 3 2021, 10:18 PM
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An excellent piece Gambo - one minor point - The BPI Archive keeps the full charts from 1983 - 1995 which means Top 200 Singles and Albums (complete with starred out entries) and from 1973-1982 the BMRB pages contain full album listings. I'd type the stuff for free if they'd let me (Mostly cos I want it of course!)
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AcerBen
post Feb 4 2021, 11:28 PM
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Were the charts ever "untainted" and "pure" though?

Even in the old days, it was vulnerable to hyping, and even when the sales were genuine the numbers would be affected by how many copies were available in the shops, how long for and when labels wanted to release them as singles.

At least the manipulations they make now are for mostly good reasons. Plus the chart has never been there purely for us - it's always been there as a promotional tool for and paid for by the music industry.

I really think they've just gone with top 75s now for consistency. I agree to a point that you can't compare the top 75 of now with those from the past, but most people probably aren't thinking about it as deeply as you. They probably just thought it was better from an aesthetic point of view to have them look the same as all the other books. I don't buy the idea of Music Week sticking with the top 75 purely to save money on ink and paper either.


This post has been edited by AcerBen: Feb 4 2021, 11:32 PM
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kingofskiffle
post Feb 4 2021, 11:36 PM
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I donít think anybody buys MusicWeek for the charts these days either with it all free on the OCC website and in larger depth. ChartsPlus has a similar issue but at least we have more depth than the website. Music Week donít have that.
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AcerBen
post Feb 4 2021, 11:38 PM
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Still a good read though.
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Robbie
post Feb 5 2021, 12:02 AM
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^

It's not possible to buy Music Week these days as it's no longer published! Well, the weekly edition is no longer published, a monthly edition is supposed to be going to be published starting from this month but no details have yet been announced (edit: I'm not sure if AcerBen is referring to Music Week or ChartsPlus).


This post has been edited by Robbie: Feb 5 2021, 12:03 AM
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Suedehead2
post Feb 5 2021, 01:32 PM
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QUOTE(AcerBen @ Feb 4 2021, 11:28 PM) *
Were the charts ever "untainted" and "pure" though?

Even in the old days, it was vulnerable to hyping, and even when the sales were genuine the numbers would be affected by how many copies were available in the shops, how long for and when labels wanted to release them as singles.

At least the manipulations they make now are for mostly good reasons. Plus the chart has never been there purely for us - it's always been there as a promotional tool for and paid for by the music industry.

I really think they've just gone with top 75s now for consistency. I agree to a point that you can't compare the top 75 of now with those from the past, but most people probably aren't thinking about it as deeply as you. They probably just thought it was better from an aesthetic point of view to have them look the same as all the other books. I don't buy the idea of Music Week sticking with the top 75 purely to save money on ink and paper either.

The closest they came to being untainted was probably the period from the inclusion of downloads (making supply issues increasingly irrelevant as physical sales fell off a cliff) and the inclusion of streaming which inevitably led to arbitrary rules about what constitutes a sale. Before streaming was added, we had a period when every sale counted (or as near as made no difference) and a sale was a sale was a sale.
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Gambo
post Feb 7 2021, 11:57 AM
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All really valid and well-made points folks. And yes, arguably a music chart can never be entirely free from compromises of some sorts, including for a kick-off what is chosen by artists/labels to release and how promotion of that product is managed. Alas no chart has ever been there as a measure of relative musical quality or compositional excellence; it's more about what happens to capture the wider public's imagination for whatever random reasons at any given moment, which can and does produce some uneven and sometimes bizarre results in terms of chart placings. And of course its core purpose is for the industry that sponsors its compilation, not music fans who happen to have an interest in the commercial fortunes of their preferred artists or songs.

I think Suedehead makes a particularly good point here though - I always regard the Jan '07 to Jun '14 period as a 'golden age' for UK singles chart completeness and accuracy (though not necessarily for the music that was troubling the charts during that time) and is probably as close to a 'clean' Top 100 (or 200) singles chart we had. It was clearly and simply still based on paid-for sales, which were still by far the dominant means of consumption (albeit increasingly on digital rather than physical formats for single tracks but at least the principle of the two remained constant - someone paid money for a particular track); no exclusions or restrictions were applied to any position 1 to 200 (other than the fundamental stuff like dealer price, playing time, unfair promo tools etc which can't be avoided); the 'DUS' methodology of surveying sales was by then well-embedded and reported transactions for nearly the entire market (over 99% I think by this point); the chart frame was more-or-less in sync with the calendrical week (so any calendar week had a single set of charts that clearly corresponded with what was current in those seven days). It seemed like we had after so long finally got the best charts in the world and certainly in British history, and they simply reflected whatever was going on in the marketplace, be that good or bad, natural or manipulated. Sadly the exponential onslaught of streaming as an alternative and now all-conquering means of consuming music perhaps inevitably meant that our charts would never be the same again, once the decision was taken - again I think inevitably - to blend it alongside traditional sales in the compilation of first singles and a little later albums charts. Initially at least it was a clear enough conversion, albeit entirely arbitrary, but as soon as they had to start tinkering with the ratios, and ultimately reimpose artificial restrictions across all positions, we lost that clean, clear and unmolested ranking that we enjoyed for those seven-and-a-half years.

AcerBen is of course quite right though to point out most people outside of the geeky brigade of chartographers that contribute to this and other similar sites will not be thinking about this anywhere near as deeply and will probably care even less! I still say though that even those who only occasionally and casually brush with the UK charts need to just be wary about assuming everything they read about them is straightforward and 'true' - including data that emanates from the ostensibly unquestionable Official Charts Company source.


This post has been edited by Gambo: Feb 7 2021, 11:58 AM
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