The Mysterious Case Of @ChartData

Who is @chartdata?  As someone who probably spends more time on Twitter than is probably good for me, one of the many feeds I follow is one by Chart Data that posts information about songs and albums and artists that are popular on charts in the United States (where I live) and around the world.  For example, throughout the week I will look at feeds that tell me song and album certifications in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other places, while seeing the movement of songs on and off the charts.  The person/people behind the feed will also post changes in roles, the songs of the summer, and retrospectives that tell us that on this date ___ years ago ____ hit their peak chart position of ____ with the song _____.  I must admit that I am intrigued by these statistics, even when the news is bad news, like some mediocre trap album having all seventeen of its songs chart simultaneously on the Hot 100.  As someone who cares deeply about music charts [1], I find the sort of information provided by this account to be deeply interesting and worthwhile, in that it gives me an efficient way to keep track of what is going on in popular music.

Yet it would appear as if not everyone is content that the mysterious identity of chart data should remain mysterious.  It so happens that not all is going well with the Twitter feed.  As I write this, earlier today the person in charge of the feed wrote the following:  “I appear to have been targeted with false DMCA claims by someone after my personal information. Twitter allows me to file a counter but only by disclosing this info. If anyone knows how to fix this please send a DM otherwise I risk losing the account entirely in the future.”  Regrettably, I was unable to help the person behind this feed with their concern, as I do not know how to fight DMCA related claims that are related to doxing.  For whatever reason, and I do not know nor care about the reasons, the person or people behind @chartdata want to remain private.  I tend to live a pretty public life myself and my opinions and general worldview and bias are openly acknowledged.  Not everyone appreciates it–Amazon, for example, considers me a biased reviewer and refuses to accept my reviews on products–but knowing who I am and what I stand for is not a very difficult task, come what may.

For whatever reason, though, @chartdata wants to remain private.  I am okay with this decision.  Not everyone wants to live a public life where they are subject to intense scrutiny over the way that they spend their time.  Perhaps @chartdata works for Billboard, or a music label, or has a job that may not be considered related to the music industry.  Perhaps they have political or religious beliefs, as I do, that would lead them to be subject to considerable scrutiny and disapproval.  Perhaps they do not want their personal life to become the subject of discourse and would prefer to focus on posting chart data and information.  The why and wherefores of their desire to remain private is private, and I am not privy to the reasoning.  I simply agree that in our world there are many legitimate reasons why someone would want to remain private and have their tweets be judged on their own merits and not the personal standing or opinions or decisions or life of the person making the posts.  If there was ever a time that was an acceptable course of action, it would be in our present days.  When I go to @chartdata, which I do multiple times daily, I am looking for music data and statistics, not anything personal, and that is exactly how I want it to remain.

Yet in a world where there is an increasing desire to make everything about people public, from their purchases and search data to their photographs and random internet comments, where public figures find their third grade behavior under intense scrutiny, the desire to remain intensely private while having a popular online presence is a deeply anomalous one.  To what extent does our personality matter with regards to what we say.  I happen to believe that a message and messenger need not be viewed as synonymous.  If someone is faithfully transmitting data and not infusing it with their own personal commentary, that data can speak for itself and others are free to interpret it however they will.  If we view #peaktrap as a threat to the well-being of society or puzzle over the wide gulf between streaming and radio with regards to what is judged as “popular music,” we are free to draw such inferences as we may from the data, while the person or people providing the data remain hidden.  It should not be necessary for the identity of the account holder to become an issue.  Some of us just want the data to work with, trusting that our own interpretive skills can handle it without the need to puzzle over who is providing us with the information and what their own reasons for doing so are.  Sometimes data should be left to remain data, and if someone wants to share data but not share themselves, who am I to complain?

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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