Record chart

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A record chart, in the music industry, also called a music chart, is a ranking of recorded music according to certain criteria during a given period. Many different criteria are used in worldwide charts, often in combination. These include record sales, the amount of radio airplay, the number of downloads, and the amount of streaming activity.

Some charts are specific to a particular musical genre and most to a particular geographical location. The most common period covered by a chart is one week with the chart being printed or broadcast at the end of this time. Summary charts for years and decades are then calculated from their component weekly charts. Component charts have become an increasingly important way to measure the commercial success of individual songs.

A common format of radio and television programmes is to run down a music chart.

Chart hit

A chart hit is a recording, identified by its inclusion in a chart that uses sales or other criteria to rank popular releases, that ranks highly in popularity compared to other songs in the same time frame. Chart-topper and related terms (like number one, No. 1 hit, top of the charts, chart hit, and so forth) are widely used in common conversation and in marketing, and are loosely defined. Because of its value in promoting recording artists and releases, both directly to the consumer, and by encouraging exposure on radio, TV other media, chart positioning has long been a subject of scrutiny and controversy. Chart compilation methodology and data sources vary, ranging from "buzz charts" (based on opinions of various experts and tastemakers), to charts that reflect empirical data such as retail sales. Therefore, a chart-topper may be anything from an "insiders' pick" to a runaway seller. Most charts that are used to determine extant mainstream popularity rely on measurable data.

Record chart performance is inherently relative, as they rank songs, albums and records in comparison to each other at the same time, as opposed to music recording sales certification methods, which are measured in absolute numbers. Comparing the chart positions of songs at different times thus does not provide an accurate comparison of a song's overall impact. The nature of most charts, particularly weekly charts, also favors songs that sell very well for a brief period; thus, a song that is only briefly popular may chart higher than a song that sells more copies in the long range, but more slowly. As a result, a band's biggest hit single may not be its best-selling single.

According to Joel Whitburn, the American trade publication Billboard introduced the Hot 100 on August 4, 1958. This was the first chart in the US to "fully integrate the hottest-selling and most-played pop singles."[1] From 1958 until 1991, Billboard compiled the chart from playlists reported by radio stations, and surveys of retail sales outlets. Before 1958, several charts were published, including "Best Sellers in Stores", "Most Played by Jockeys" (later revived under the name Hot 100 Airplay), and "Most Played in Juke Boxes", and, in later collations of chart hits, the record's highest placing in any of those charts was usually reported. On November 30, 1991, Billboard introduced a new method of determining the Hot 100, "by a combination of actual radio airplay monitored electronically by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS), additional playlists from small-market stations, and actual point-of-sale information provided by Nielsen SoundScan."[1] Until 1998, any songs placed on the chart had to be physically available as a single.[1] The Hot 100 continues to be published.

Other terminology

There are several commonly used terms when referring to a music/entertainment chart or the performance of a release thereon.

A new entry is a title which is making its début in that chart. This is applied to all charts, for instance a track which is outside the Top 40 but which later climbs into that level of the chart is considered to be a 'new entry' to the Top 40 that week. In most official charts, tracks have to have been on sale for a period of time in order to enter the charts; however, in some retailers' charts, new releases are included in charts as 'new entries' without a sales history in order to make them more visible to purchasers. A real new entry is a title that makes its chart début, no matter how many positions officially the chart actually is. In the UK the official published chart is a Top 100 although a new entry can take place between positions 101-200 (this is also true of the Billboard Hot 100, which has a "bubbling under" addendum for new songs that have not yet made the Hot 100). The Top 40 is only used for radio to shorten the play-lists.

A re-entry is a track which has previously entered a chart and fallen out of that chart, and then later re-appears in it. This may come about if a release is reissued or if there is a surge of interest in the track. Generally, any repeat entry of a track into a chart is considered a re-entry, unless the later version of the track is a materially different recording or is significantly repackaged (such as Michael Jackson's "Thriller 25"), where the release would normally be considered separate and thus a "new" entry.

A climber is a release which is going higher in the chart week-on-week. Because chart positions are generally relative to each other on a week-to-week basis, a release does not necessarily have to increase sales week-to-week to be a climber, as if releases ahead of it decline in sales sufficiently they may slip below it. By the same metric, not all week-to-week sales increases result in a climber, if other releases improve by a sufficient amount to keep it from climbing. The term highest climber is used to denote the release making the biggest leap upwards in the chart that week. There is generally not an equivalent phrase for tracks going down the chart; the term "faller" is occasionally used, but not as widely as 'climber'.

The top 10, top 20 and so forth are used to determine the relative success of a release. For instance, a track may be referred to as a 'top 10 hit' if it reaches a position between 1 and 10 on the singles chart, as a 'top 20 hit' if it reaches between positions 1 and 20, and so on. The most commonly known chart is the 'top 40', widely used by the media in various territories, though it is common for longer lists to be produced for or by the music industry. For example, in the UK, the Official Charts Company produces a top 200, although various media only publish shorter lists.

A one-hit wonder is an act that appears on the chart just once. The term true one-hit wonder was the term given by the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums (and also the Billboard book Top Pop Singles) for an act that has one number one hit and nothing else on the chart ever. If an act appears in some other form (for example, a solo act that appears with a band or with other act) then these are taken separately.

Music charts and programs

Top 10

Name Notes
Topp 10 Singles Norsk Norwegian Singles Chart for Norwegian language songs
Philips Top 10 Indian Top 10 on Zee TV

Top 20

Name Notes
Philippine Top 20 Philippines local songs chart
The Official Lebanese Top 20 Lebanese airplay chart
in 2 editions - English and Combined English and Arabic
Top 20 Countdown Canadian country music chart countdown
on CMT
The Official Finnish Charts
also called Suomen virallinen singlelista
Finnish Top 20 Singles Chart

Top 30

Name Notes
Country Countdown USA American radio-based country chart
Top 30 Belgian Radio 2 Top 30 or VRT Top 30
(previously BRT Top 30)

Top 40

Name Notes
American Top 40 radio airplay countdown
Ö3 Austria Top 40 airplay + sales chart
Dutch Top 40 airplay + streaming and social media trends
Hitlisten Danish chart
Mexican Airplay Mexican radio plays chart published by Billboard magazine
NZ Top 40 New Zealand music chart published by Recorded Music NZ
Los 40 Principales Spanish chart made by the radio LOS40, includes airplay in the

radio, voting of the songs on the list on the official website of the radio and popularity of the songs inside and outside Spain (there are some songs that can't be played on their radios but are still very popular in the country, for example trap songs, so those types of songs don't usually chart here)

Take 40 Australia Australian top 40 countdown
The Official Chart UK sales + streaming chart on BBC Radio 1
The Net 40 a worldwide user generated Top 40 show
VG-lista Norwegian chart

Top 50

Name Notes
Mega Top 50 Dutch music chart
Oricon Singles Chart Japanese chart
Ultratop (Flanders) Belgian Flanders Ultratop 50 Singles Charts
Ultratop (Wallonia) Belgian Wallonia Ultratop 50 Singles Charts
Ultratip (Wallonia) Belgian Wallonia Top 50 of Bubbling other singles
Veva Play(Veva Play Top 50)[2] American Standard Record Chart

Top 75

Name Notes
Ö3 Austria Top 75 Austrian Singles Chart with
Ö3 Austria Top 40 adopted by broadcasters
and the positions 41 to 75 considered as bubbling under
Swiss Hitparade Swiss Singles Top 75

Top 100

Name Notes
Argentina Hot 100 Argentine chart
ARIA Top 100 Chart Australian chart
Billboard Hot 100 American standard record chart for songs.
Chart published weekly by Billboard magazine
Billboard Japan Hot 100 Japanese international chart
Chart published weekly by Billboard magazine
Brasil Hot 100 Airplay Brazilian chart
Canadian Hot 100 Canadian chart
Chart published weekly by Billboard magazine
European Hot 100 Singles Pan-European chart published by Billboard magazine
Now discontinued
Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana
Italian chart
GfK Entertainment Charts German Top 100 chart
Irish Singles Chart Irish music chart
Philippine Hot 100 Philippines chart
Rádio – Top 100 Czech national airplay chart
Rolling Stone Top 100 American chart
Single Top 100 Dutch Singles Chart
Sverigetopplistan Swedish Top 100
The Official Chart UK Top 100 Singles Chart published by The Official Chart
(BBC airs just the Top 40 from the same chart)
Top 100 Mexico Mexican chart
Ultratip Belgian Flanders Top 100 of Bubbling other singles
Top 100 Songs Official Spanish Chart

Top 200

Name Notes
Gaon Digital Chart South Korean chart (Top 200 since 2019)
Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique
French Singles Chart in 3 editions
Download / Streaming / Combined

See also


  1. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. xi-xiii. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  2. ^ "About VPRC |". (in American English). Retrieved 2021-05-29.
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