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If you’ve ever loved a song, or maybe more importantly loved a specific artist or band, chances are you have tried to help the song in the charts. Recently, fans of One Direction attempted to get the song “What A Feeling” into the top of the charts. Right away it was clear that everyone saw it on the charts a little bit differently. Every chart is measured in a slightly different way than another, so understanding how each of them is measured is a crucial part of understanding how to help a song/artist in the charts. 

Billboard Charts

The most complicated, and perhaps most influential of all charts, the Billboard Charts are based on just about everything that has to do with music. Streams on any platform play a role into the chart. Purchases also work into the chart, both from physical and online sales representing a vast majority of all retailers and outlets. One of the most important parts of this chart has to do with the radio. Plays on almost all radio stations are documented, and their weight changes based on the time and the amount of listeners a radio station has. Playing a song on at 4pm on a popular station holds more weight than the same station playing that song at 2am, and more weight than a station that doesn’t have a large audience. The Billboard Charts are a big deal, and can be very hard to break into without a significant effort from both the artist and the fans. 

Itunes Charts

Purchases and plays are the controllers of the Itunes charts. Anything that is purchased from Itunes influences the chart, as well as how many times that purchased file is played. With the introduction of streaming services these charts changed a lot. Younger generations were the ones that purchased the most music, but they began to just stream. While Itunes is still a good reflection of what is popular, it is important to know this change. 

Apple Music Charts

Apple Music bases their charts on what is streamed through solely Apple Music. If you purchase an album through Itunes and play the song, that is not a stream. A stream is specifically for music that is in your Apple Music library. Offline plays also count, as well as playing from the radio feature. Any song has to be played for over 30 seconds in order to count towards a stream and therefore the charts.

Spotify Charts

Spotify is just like Apple music when it comes to their charts. Any stream over 30 seconds influences their charts. Offline streams count once the listener comes back online, which they are required to do after a certain amount of time. Streams only on Spotify itself counts, not through other streaming sources. They have many different charts for different countries, genres, and the globe, all based on the same streaming measurement. The only exception is their viral chart, which on any service is based on slightly different measurements and criteria. 

No matter where you listen to your music, listening to what you love is going to be good for the artist. It can be very difficult to make a large change without a large audience, but what you do matters!

Mallory is a sociology major at the University of Utah. She enjoys spending her time catching up on the newest Netflix shows, reading books, or trying to be a little creative.
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