Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's yet another one of those only charts that count

As the Top 40 struggles to find some sort of relevance in the digital world, the Official Charts Company are launching new charts as fast as the music industry dreams up new formats: They're about to launch a chart showing the 'most-listened to' songs via subscription services. They're excited that this is the first of its kind in the world; they seem unaffected by a doubt that nobody else is drawing up such a chart because it's not really that exciting.

This quote from the press release is fascinating:

Gary Warren, HMV, said:

“The development of the Official Subscription Plays Chart can only bring positive attention to the music industry. Subscription activity is a growing pastime for many consumers and gives great low cost access to any music content the listener has a desire to experience.

“I frequently use my own HMV subscription account to access new music and sample recommendations from friends before adding new CDs to my collection. The new chart is a goldmine for spotting early trends.”

"Subscription activity is a growing pastime"? Really? What does that mean? "I'm bored - I know, I might pass a couple of hours setting up a subscription to something..."

And since most people will be listening to music they already know they like, in what way is the chart going to help people "spot new trends"? Isn't there at least a risk that the chart will be a crushing demonstration that given an opening to the wonders of all the world, people will just listen to Bohemian Rhapsody all the time, every day?