Pop-Music Theorists Try To Give Charts A New Plotline

noah | February 1, 2007 10:45 am

We’re suckers for chart talk, so naturally we lapped up today’s MTV News piece on the future of the charts in the digital era–it’s full of ideas for refining the pop charts from the ground up:

“The metrics of measurement are so messed up now because you have SoundScan, BigChampagne, iTunes, eMusic, streams from Yahoo! and AOL, and there’s no chart that combines all that together to get a clear view of who is most popular right now,” McBride added. “Digital distribution has shattered the old monopoly on how music is distributed.”

McBride is also an advocate of digital distribution and has experimented with releasing albums by Barenaked Ladies on zip drives. “Younger kids are consuming music differently now. They’re not necessarily going to a store to buy a CD or turning on their radio to hear new music. The choices are vast.”

If McBride had his way, there would be some kind of hybrid “consumption” chart that culled information from BigChampagne; music streaming off YouTube, Yahoo! and AOL; iTunes; physical CD sales; the #2 music-download site, eMusic; RealNetworks; and several other sites for what he said would be a “pretty accurate” look at what people are really listening to and buying.

This sounds like a solid start to us, albeit one that would likely have a greater effect on the singles charts–which, thanks to the stale playlists of radio stations, tend to be pretty slow-moving (to wit: “How To Save A Life” by The Fray is currently enjoying its 42nd week on the Billboard Hot 100). One thing we’d add is the InfoFilter Bittorrent Top 50, which often reveals some surprises here and there–really, who knew that the public had a slightly higher appetite for Bow Wow than his No. 54 slot on the Billboard 200 might indicate?

Who’s Really #1? iTunes, MySpace Throwing Music Charts For A Loop [MTV via VH1]