Someone wrote this on another thread recently 'But didn't AOBTD top black and funk charts back in 1980?'
I've been thinking about this. How does it work? Is there a record shop and when you make your choice there are different counters you go to? Like a 'Disco' counter, 'Black' counter, 'Country' counter etc, etc
How does the record buyer know which chart he/she has just contributed to?
Yes, the R&B/Urban/Black charts are based on radio play of stations that have majority black listeners. There are radio stations in the US that play primarily modern hip hop music that have mostly white listeners, but they are categorized as "Rhythmic Top 40" stations and have their own charts.
By the way, in recent years all the various radio charts are combined by Billboard to use as the overall radio leaders, which used to be used to count for 50% of the overall Top 100 singles chart along with 50% from sales and downloads. Now all this has been watered down by the inclusion of streaming data.
So those charts are pretty meaningless then, the old fashioned equivalent of including streaming as a sale.
Not sure if that makes them meaningless. If streams are the thing nowadays, then it's clearly an indicator of popularity.
By the way, just realized the last album I bought is from 2017 and there wasn't much I bought before that in 2010- era. Nice to have it all on Spotify, although it's certainly not the same and kills the feeling in quite a brutal fashion.
I guess meaningless means different things to different people. I think there is a lot more substance in someone willing to spend money on a song. If streaming a song = 1 sale then a person could listen to the same song 20 times a day and it counts 20 times towards the chart but who would buy the same song 20 times?
But as purely a mark of popularity then streams are a good indicator I suppose.
My summary if that most charts always were a little bit meaningless and now completely are.
Still shady af though.
It was a mix of airplay and sales...but still not clear how they really calculated it, as it was really easy to manipulate.
In the age of streaming and downloads it's still not clear how they measure it.
A quick google:
"On August 4, 1958, Billboard premiered one main all-genre singles chart: the Hot 100. ... The Hot 100 is ranked by radio airplay audience impressions as measured by Nielsen BDS, sales data compiled by Nielsen Soundscan (both at retail and digitally) and streaming activity provided by online music sources."
In those days we didn't have the technology and communication methods we have now, so how did "they" get all their data?
Did they call around big retailers every Thursday or Friday and ask how much they have sold that week? Here they give a summary of how to get into the charts:
-Registering a release - In short, you need to make sure your products have the correct indentification codes (catalogue number and barcode for physical releases on CD or vinyl, ISRC for digital tracks, barcode for a digital bundle product (singles & albums) and that these are registered with the correct bodies. Details of how to do this are provided here: Registering a release.
-Meeting the chart rules – before your product is registered, you need to ensure your release complies with the UK’s Official ‘Chart Rules’. These are rules that apply to physical and digital formats – unfortunately, if your release does not adhere to these rules (which are agreed with the entertainment industry) it will not be eligible for any of the published charts, although Official Charts will still track sales of the product providing it has been registered correctly. Full details are provided here: Meeting the chart rules.
-The chart retailers – before your release is registered and you are sure that it is going to be eligible for the charts, you need to make sure it is being sold through a chart reporting retailer. In practice, this isn’t a major issue, as long as you are selling your music through a known retailer. You can have the greatest record in the world, but if it is sold through a stall at a car boot sale, it won’t be able to make the Official Charts. Details are here: The chart retailers.
Now ontopic: The question how they measured that in 1980 is still up for debate, but it seems that they had to categorise singles in genres and some crossed over according to airplay. Maybe it was up to the diskjockey of a particularly big station top 40 station or big stations that covered other popular genres at the time in combination with requests from listeners.
What about other "smaller" stations and "smaller" retailers? Don't they count?
One thing I don’t like is that a lot of the old charts are irrelevant today, yet that’s all that appears Freddie’s stuff doesn’t sell well on his Wikipedia discography page. Someone update it to include digital singles, etc!