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The Death Of The Hot 100

Yes, folks, the record charts are officially meaningless. It can pinpoint a viral hit but it can’t do much more. For what the USA  are listening to Spotify’s daily “USA Top 50” but that isn’t proof of what they are actually spending money on. And beyond that Rolling Stone’s abysmal RS100, and Billboard is just bewildering, even the dates are messed up, when put the date of the chart as the Saturday after the chart is released  on the Sunday/Monday (at least the UK’s Official Charts, also useless, start the weeks reporting on Friday through Thursday).

But there is nothing Billboard can do. They have one useless chart after another, industry bribes to the big threes, but they mean nothing because there are two conflicting values at work, it is like adding apples to barber shops: they have nothing in common when it comes to counting. And the results are essentially a matter of opinion that doesn’t matter, albums fly in and out of the charts on a weekly basis, most albums don’t last a week before falling to #72. It isn’t when 75K equivalent album units can get you to number.

Miley Cyrus currently has 60K EAUs for Plastic Hearts. This tells me exceedingly little about Miley or her album, it is a mix of streaming, youtube (when charged), vinyl and CDs. But here is the problem: CDs are only counted once, but what does that tell you about popularity in week two, while people are still streaming but people who are purchasing are not included? It tells you country and AOR are getting short changed and how. Billboard add streaming to a special sauce of bullshit. But it doesn’t give an accurate picture… and there seems no way for the Hot 100 or the Billboard 200 to fix it.

Look: Spotify doesn’t give albums and Billboard are guessing. Where is TikTok in all this? What earthly number of EAU’s is correct. From Billboard: “Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album.”  That’s voodoo. It doesn’t fix it up at all.

Before streaming, record stores scanned sales and Nielsen counted em up. There was no errors possible. But now, Billboard are using numbers that are not merely always late (so they don’t reflect what we are seeing on Spotify and Itunes charts), but they don’t reflect what they themselves believe.

You can use Billboard to track the mammoth success of, say, 24Goldn’s “Mood”. Five weeks at # 1 on the Hot 100 and it is a success. But what does it tell you about Bruce Springsteen’s new album? From #1 to outer Siberia in two weeks? If the new Miley is at # 2 on the Billboard 200 with 60K EAUs. is it a success or failure? Damned if I know, though the number is so minuscular I would guess the answer is not as such. Their Social chart might as well be throwing darts.

Obviously, there is no easy answer whatsoever… What do you do about Pandora or IHEARTRADIO or Sirius, services that are PAID FOR but not counted?

There is only one question that Billboard needs to answer: which song and which album made the most money last week?

And they just can’t do it.

 

 

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