The ARIA Chart, It Has Become A Joke -
Adele 30

Adele 30

The ARIA Chart, It Has Become A Joke

by Paul Cashmere on January 4, 2022

in News,Noise Pro

A funny thing happens when you eliminate streaming from the ARIA sales figures. The manufactured pop machine disappears.

The ARIA Chart has long been broken but no-one wants to fix it.

Take out the streaming figures (purchase not needed) and Doja Cat, The Kid Laroi, Dua Lipa disappear into a black hole. Olivia Rodrigo, BTS move to the edge of the universe falling outside the Top 20. ABBA bounces back up as do a slew of classic acts, Nirvana, Pink Floyd,
Amy Winehouse and we get to see who today’s real pop stars are with Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Adele and Billie Eilish maintaining a rock solid Top 20 presence.

The ARIA Chart, as indeed the Billboard chart, has always been a marketing tool for the music industry. In recent years, with the addition of streaming figures to the chart, the industry has managed to camouflage success by allocating a “sales” figure to streams (listens). By changing the recipe for what a hit is, the music industry has more control over what it wants you to think is a hit. Yes, it is now possible to have a hit by selling very little. Olivia Rodrigo’s album shrinks from 1360 sales to 340 when you take out the streams, Doja Cat goes from 1249 to 247 and Dua Lipa condenses down from 944 sales to 182. It is even worse for The Kid Laroi. He goes to extinction, disappearing completely out of the Top 150 from no 18 overall. Fuck Love indeed!

There is a major difference to how an audience impacts with music in streams vs sales. Streams can be a passive listening response. For example, you are listening to a third party playlist without any thought as to what the individual songs are. Despite that, they are counted as a sale. You might choose to stream a favourite song but that continues into an automated playlist not of your choosing. Those automated songs are now considered a sale.

When you subscribe to a streaming service, you pay the streaming service. There is no direct transaction between you and the artist. Its disposable. It ceases to exist as soon as the song ends. When you buy the physical music, you are making a decision to purchase the artist’s creation and make their music a part of your culture. It stays with you.

The physical chart is compiled from an active response. It tells the story of longevity. The streaming chart is a snapshot of a moment in time. For example here we are in January 2022. The top 3 songs (by Mariah Carey, Wham and Michael Buble) are all Christmas songs. Numbers 5, 8 and 10 are also Christmas songs. Number 8, Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’, is 63 years old. Number 13 is even older. Bobby Helms ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ was released in 1957. Even Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, The Ronettes and Jose Feliciano are in the ARIA Top 40 this week because of actions taken over a few days 10 or more days ago.

The credibility of the ARIA Chart has long gone. It does not represent music consumption today. It has become a joke.

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