In order to determine whether a song is popular or not many people consult one of the various popular music charts. However, do these so called ‘popular music charts’ accurately depict what is considered to be popular? By thoroughly analyzing the methods of accessing the popularity of music, Billboard Magazine uses in their top 25 dance/electronic songs for November 30th – December 7th, 2013 this paper aims to discover whether or not popular music charts are the best implication of what is to be considered popular. The analysis will critically examine the contents of the chart in order to explain whether or not the methods Billboard used, accurately depict the popularity of these songs. Whilst exposing the possible effect of using such measures of popularity. As well, the analysis will discuss the idea of quality in relation to popularity and how the two ideas don’t always mean the same thing.
According to Hinds when determining popularity “one of two variables is used: how many were bought or viewed, or how many dollars were spent on sales or rentals.” (pp. 373) Seeing as Billboard explains that the songs are ranked by a combination of “radio airplay audience impressions as measured by Nielsen BDS, sales data as compiled by Nielsen SoundScan, streaming activity data by online music sources tracked by Nielsen BDS and reports from a national sample of club DJs” (Billboard, 2013). This statement holds true for Billboard Magazine’s top 25 dance/electronic songs for November 30th – December 7th, 2013 chart.
Billboards popular music ranking’s does not offer international options for this particular chart. For that reason the chart is assumed to be comprised of American statistics. That being said, a majority of the data collected relevant to Billboard Magazine’s top 25 dance/electronic songs for November 30th – December 7th, 2013 chart is American. For instance, the national sample of club DJ’s is presumed to be speaking of American DJ’s. As well, Neilson radio impression data is collected in America. However, how does one assure that all streaming of these songs are done by American citizens and not by citizens of other nationalities? Or how does one differentiate between American citizens and non-American citizens purchasing these songs online? With so many outside possibilities it is hard to say if this chart accurately depicts the popularity of these songs within America. However, it does have the ability to depict the popularity of the song on an international level.
Furthermore, seeing as this chart only represents a week of popularity it is difficult to say if these songs can be declared as ‘popular’ overall. That being said the chart does give a good implication of what is popular that week.
The organization responsible for compiling the data that builds Billboard Magazine charts is, Nielson. The main priority of Nielson is market research; in specific Nielson primarily concentrates on what people watch and buy (Nielson, 2013). Overall,...