Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Nota de The Guardian
Charts retuned as web decides what's No 1
Music industry magazine to list listeners' habits alongside traditional sales
Jemima Kiss and Esther Addley
The Guardian

Wednesday August 22 2007
It is the site, say aficionados, that discovered Arctic Monkeys long before their much discussed emergence on MySpace. It noted the popularity of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, the bestselling single of 2006, weeks before it became the first ever number one based solely on download sales.
Now its influence on the music industry has been officially acknowledged. Music Week, the influential trade title, will this week publish a chart based on the internet listening habits of the social networking site, the first time the magazine has included data from an online supplier.
The move is an indication of the increasing influence of online social networks on the charts, and an acknowledgement of the ability of a group of musical tastemakers to predict future stars. has become something of a cult among music obsessives since it was founded five years ago. Users download a desktop program that tracks every song played through their computer's music player. They can then build their own customised "radio stations" based on tracks they like, and link to similar artists recommended by others.
To music industry watchers, however, it's the data generated by the site's 20 million enthusiasts that is priceless.'s weekly charts, the site claims, are much more significant for the industry than reviews or even sales data, which cannot trace how often tracks are listened to once they have been bought. In addition, they say, they are less subject to huge marketing spends and targeted buying which critics say can distort the traditional charts.
"Our users are on street level and they pick up music as it happens," said spokesman Christian Ward. Referring to the early popularity on the site of Gnarls Barkley, he said: "That's the kind of thing these charts reflect and that's priceless to the industry. It's beyond our control what happens in these charts, and artists can't be artificially 'bumped up' the chart."
Music Week's acting online editor Adam Benzine said's data is important because the magazine needs to show "the most relevant, influential voices" in the industry.
The magazine's adoption of the online chart is the latest sign of an "old media" publisher or broadcaster embracing new-media techniques and data. In May, it was announced that Channel 4 radio is to broadcast a weekly show based on the listening habits of users. The show will be based on's international charts. In addition, the site wants to explore possible US partners for its chart data (despite its name, the site is not a traditional radio station - rather its domain name was registered in Micronesia).
In the same month, the site was bought by CBS Interactive for £140m, the largest European purchase to date of a web 2.0 site - one whose content is to a large extent generated by its users.
The website will supply three charts to Music Week, a spokesman said yesterday: the overall most listened-to artist, the most listened-to artist in Britain compared to elsewhere, and the "hype list" of artists whose popularity has risen most in the past month. While the magazine, for the moment, will publish the first of the three, it may be the third that will become of the most interest to chart watchers. This week's hype list includes Robyn with Kleerup, the Ghost Frequency, Newton Faulkner and Blaqk Audio.
Critics of the site, however, note that not all its charts are cutting edge: the consistent presence of the Beatles in the top artists listing, for instance, reflects the site's demographic rather than their imminent re-emergence as chart toppers.
HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said that the data from is useful, but only as one of several different measurements. "The days of the definitive music chart, the sole reference point, are over," he said. "The national charts are just one part of the picture and comes under that canopy."
Looking for new music? Here's what recommends
Like Lily Allen, Madonna and MIA?
Try Robyn.
Amy Winehouse and Regina Spektor?
Try Florence & the Machine.
Simian Mobile Disco and Klaxons?
Try Crystal Castles.
Rufus Wainwright and Tom Waits?
Try Julian Velard.
Kraftwerk and Prince?
Try Fujiya & Miyagi File