A Modest Proposal For The Development Of DIY Charts

While there have been websites that have catered to subjective personal charts, most of these were merely charts based on favoritism and there was not the provision of a large amount of data to allow the development of charts that are based on one’s own personal understanding of rules. As someone who spends a fair bit of my free time dealing with questions of music charts and their legitimacy, it has become increasingly obvious over the past year or so that the Billboard Hot 100 as a chart is pretty broken and increasingly ripe for exploitation by artists who know enough about how charts are calculated to motivate fans (in some cases, as with BTS and Taylor Swift) to purchase songs and remixes to game the charts to get them andthen try to keep them #1 inorganically. What is to be done about this?

It is my view that it is best to deal with defective charts like the Billboard Hot 100 through encouraging competition. There are a great many views about the proper proportions that should exist between sales, radio airplay, and streams that exist. There are differences between free and paid streams and programmed streams, and even streams (user generated content on YouTube) that is not included. A great deal of data is available to the general public when it comes to knowing the statistics of songs, and it would not be a difficult task for a website to bring this data to the people and create an atmosphere where one can create one’s own headcanon charts with rules and chart mechanics that are based on one’s own internal sense of balance. The website could profit by charging a modest fee for providing the service of allowing for people to design their own charts based on how they would best interpret the data.

This is something that some of us can see coming, and it would be worthwhile to ponder just the sorts of difference that different ideas of the rules can lead to. Does one want a chart year that runs from January to December? Then do it. Does one want a chart that ignores radio? Go for it, even if that’s not how I would do it. Does one want to limit sales to one copy of one remix and disregard artists’ own website sales? Run with it. Does one want to make all streams, including user-generated content, count equally? Why not? Does one want to make points based on ratios or provide a maximum of points that sum up to 1000 if a song is #1 in all three metrics and is less than that proportionally based on how its streaming, sales, and radio match up? Sure, go ahead. Does one want to make a chart that appeals to the stans by including Tik Tok and social media presence for chart points? It’s your chart, you make the rules and see how those rules play out on a week by week basis. Do you want to talk with other like-minded people who have their own ideas about charts, and you can all see how songs stack up on a week-by-week basis, perhaps even seasonally, and then look at your own different YE lists? Count me in.

The key here is that Billboard right now does not do charts very well. Competitors like Rolling Stone are not doing well also. Other charts have wacky rules that try to avoid recurrency or limit artists to three songs on the singles chart simultaneously or add other sliders to try to lower the chart points of songs that are on the downswing. But if you want to use those rules, or other rules–I have heard of a three-week rule that discourages instant #1 debuts as well–by all means do them. Do you have particular recurrent rules that you want to see implemented, or none at all, it would be entertaining to see the response. People have different views, and instead of arguing about the legitimacy of a chart that has to make a decision about various matters, why not create a headcanon chart that takes advantage of the data that exists and then sees how things shake out in real life. How does the reality of the music chart look based one one’s own rules. This is subjective, to be sure, but subjective in a way that points out how different people see the world and how reality would shape out according to what one viewed as the right and proper way to look at things. Someone needs to go about doing this, as I suspect there is a fair amount of people who have some strong opinions and an interest in seeing how things exist according to their own rules and principles and worldview. I know I do.

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 Music History, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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