Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The charts no longer really measure what they did

According to the Billboard charts, The Cast Of Glee are a more successful band than The Beatles:

The "Glee" cast has surpassed the Beatles for the most appearances on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by a non-solo act.

The cast of the Fox television musical series about a high school glee club has six debuts on the chart this week. That gives it a total of 75 songs on the chart to the Beatles' 71.
The Billboard charts used to measure sales of records. It's not entirely clear what it measures what it thinks it does now.


George said...


The Hot 100 always combined sales numbers AND airplay audience numbers into its tally. Until late November 1998, a record could only chart if it had a commercial single available. From early December 1998, songs can chart on the Hot 100 from radio airplay alone. In mid-February 2005, digital sales were incorporated into the mix. And since 2008 (don't recall the exact period), streaming data of services like Yahoo! Music and Rhapsody are also included.

And no, I don't work for Billboard; I'm just a chart follower.

Chris Brown said...

Ironically, though, I'd guess that the Glee tracks aren't getting much radio play so it probably is the revived importance of sales (ie downloads) that has made this possible.

As a UK chart watcher myself, I'm more perturbed by the fact that they've broken the Wedding Present's record over here. Mind you, one point I haven't really noticed anybody making is that they aren't really a group, are they? It's not the same actors on every song, surely.

Robin Carmody said...

Indeed, but it's the same *act* for chart purposes and you really have to stop there with something as anorakish as this.

The Glee Cast remakes indeed invariably chart high in the first week because of download sales, and then drop right out (their version of that unmentionable song that DIDN'T ACTUALLY MAKE THE UK TOP 40 WHEN "THE MODEL" AND "MAID OF ORLEANS" WERE HAPPENING is, I think, the sole exception to this). Billboard does still measure sales, just sales of an entirely different kind in an entirely different era - the Beatles would have had even more entries had every track from 'Sgt Pepper' been available to download on its own (ha, ha, ha).

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

The pedant in me bows to you. I was trying to get at the point that Billboard used to be the best way of measuring popularity and perhaps it isn't now, but, yes, you're right, the way I phrased it was factually incorrect.

James said...

I've never understood the idea of polluting a chart of sales figures with 'airplay'. I always thought the pop charts were about what people were actually buying, not what the boardrooms of tinpot local radio stations were deciding we should listen to. It's like deciding which is the best-selling album of the year by counting which one was advertised the most on TV.

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