Saturday, February 02, 2013

6Music regret asking

Topping off the somewhat extended 10th birthday celebrations, 6Music asked its listeners to vote for the 100 best tunes released during its lifetime.

That was always going to be a mistake, wasn't it? Apart from anything, 6Music likes to wear the clothes of a station for whom charts and mainstream popularity are of little interest and so this sort of poll feels like one step away from offering the breakfast show to Bruno Brookes.

More importantly, by its very nature, the exercise was doomed to have the more mainstream offerings of the station coagulate at the top of the list. In fact, I believe an identical list of 100 records circulates round advertising agencies whenever they need to come up with a new tune to slap on an ad for Homebase or Vodafone.

And, there, topping it off: Clocks by Coldplay.

If 6Music had planned to run a high-profile advertising campaign that said "you know our reputation for loving new music and seeking out bright new sounds? Fuck that, we're more like a permanent shuffle on your brother-in-law's Zafira stereo", it would be less damaging than this.

I listen to 6Music a lot, and it not being the sort of station where you'd hear Clocks by Coldplay is a major part of the attraction.

In fact, the Last.FM listing of tracks played on the station appears to back this up. Admittedly, Last.FM doesn't track every single track played, and hasn't been gathering data across the whole of 6Music's life, but Clocks doesn't show up in the 500 most popular tracks. (Older songs - DeeLite's Groove Is In The Heart, and the Wu-Tang's Gravel Pit, for example, do make the 500 so age is no disadvantage.) Coldplay do turn up, around the mid 300-teens, with Viva La Vida.

So we're left with the strange situation that the supposed "best" song of the station's lifetime gets played less often than, say, Ladykillers by Lush, or Every Day Should Be A Holiday by The Dandy Warhols.

So what's going on?

A pair of embarrassed Tweets from 6Music last night offers an explanation:

In other words, the chart was hijacked by a big band with a large fanbase. Whoever saw that coming, eh?


Curious Iguana said...

Except they asked listeners to vote on the order of 100 already selected songs. So if Clocks hadn't particularly featured on the station and they wanted to be more leftfield, why did they put it in?

You can't argue, however, that Coldplay haven't been a big feature of the musical landscape over the last 10 years and are hugely popular even amongst the audience of 6 Music, much as we'd all like to pretend to be cooler than that.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

I hadn't realised that the 100 songs had been pre-selected (I'd not paid much attention at the earlier stages, I'd assumed there was a much larger pool for people to choose from).

But the statistics on Last FM show that Coldplay aren't that big a part of 6Music's playlist - I dare say there's a large bit of crossover between people who like 6Music and people who like Coldplay, but there's a bunch of people who like 6Music who also like Manchester United, and you don't get FA Cup commentary on the network.

But... yes, if they offered Clocks as an option (and not the more 6Music-endorsed Viva La Whatever) then they've only got themselves to blame for it coming out on top.

Curious Iguana said...

Yeah, they (inexplicably) did. The 100 songs were chosen by 6Music presenters and staff first. I've not seen the Last FM stats, but I know I don't hear Coldplay very often on the station. Maybe newcomer Edith Bowman chose it.

But you can't really argue with "most popular band" coming out top in a choice between "most popular songs"

Robin Carmody said...

Ah, now, if "When Love Takes Over" had come top then we might have been getting somewhere ...

Em K G said...

Speaking of Clocks by Coldplay...Whether you like the song or not, 2Cellos does a cover of the song on their new album IN2ITION. I love string arrangements of songs. Check it out.

Post a Comment

As a general rule, posts will only be deleted if they reek of spam.