Friday, March 10, 2017

so the singles chart just died

hi there

make no mistake, dear reader. i want to make it clear that this is absolutely not a bashing of Ed Sheeran session. whilst he's not quite doing the sort of vibes i would be interested in, it would be but a fool who mocked or knocked someone who has achieved the level of success he has. more importantly, he's entertained the many millions who do find his music pleasing. which is, like totes cool, dig what you dig, man.

it's not him or what his songs have done which should be bashed. no, it's the fools in charge of compiling the charts and their silly changes. in some bizarre and perhaps misguided attempt to make the singles chart "relevant" to the kids of today they allowed "streams" of a song to count instead of "sales". this was thus an accident waiting to happen, and that accident happened to day, when, on Friday March 10 2017, the latest theoretically singles chart was published.

many "thanks" indeed to the BBC for bringing this chart. and no, that's "real" in terms of what them who compile the charts - the presumably self ordained Official Charts Company - say is the singles chart. as you can see, Ed Sheeran's new album takes up the top 6, and as you can see below takes up a lot more of the top 20 too.

how was it possible for every track of Ed Sheeran's new album, called simply ÷ i believe, to be counted as a single? that's the chart change. as Ed Sheeran released the album in full on the day of release on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, each play of each song counts as a "single being played", even if the person listening is playing the whole album. the same is true of those who play the album through less well known places to stream albums off, like them X Box space invaders machines.

the immediate question is how come Ed Sheeran could do this, yet the same did not happen when equally big selling records - Adele, David Bowie and Coldplay, for example - came out? that's due to those artists, or their labels, not making the whole album available for streaming from release day one. that meant, it seems, only "streams" of songs indicated as being singles counted. oh.

despite saying the intention here is not to knock Ed Sheeran, it's quite difficult to see how this hasn't been down to a marketing ploy. by exploiting the loophole in the chart system, Sheeran and their record label he is signed to have managed to achieve something that no one - from The Beatles to the Spice Girls - has ever done before. closest i can think of is back in 1984, when Frankie Goes To Hollywood held on to the top two spots in the chart with Two Tribes and Relax. something they did via people going out and actually buying the records, note.

that's the full top forty above, and i really hope clicking on it makes it appear larger for you, at least large enough so that you may read it. read and indeed see that yes, every single track off of this album has counted as a single and is in the top twenty.

from what i can ascertain Ed Sheeran is both embarrassed and proud of this. as he should be. it's not his fault the chart now "works" the way it does, and there's no point aiming for success if you cannot celebrate it when you get it. the biggest plus, and the thing what seems to make him happier, is the fact that the  ÷ album is number one mostly due to physical sales. some 60% of the album chart position (1, of course) comes from people buying the CD and vinyl. nice one - i am delighted to see that people are, once again, falling in love with the idea of owning music as a physical experience.

does it really matter that the singles chart is now effectively dead? coming from someone who loved it and lived for Sundays for when it was announced, no, not at all. the generation now takes in music in a different way from that which i. and a couple of generations before me, did. we're never going back to actual, proper singles being sold. it is convenient and great that you can "stream" or download the single you want, as sad as it is that the social experience of going and buying the latest hits has gone. what you cannot do, with a straight face, is say that counting people streaming an album at home or in their place of work is comparable to the effort and success of music which people went off and bought the actual, physical single of.

just bin the singles chart, then. the album one is fine - people still buy albums, and my understanding is that people have to "stream" the album via a paid for or commercial service in full for it to count. but that this has been allowed to happen shows that the singles chart has become a confusing, bewildering and badly thought out irrelevance.

and yes, i would like to think i would be saying this no matter which artist happened to exploit the weakness in the system for their own success.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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