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Big Revolution - Charting the decline of charts

Welcome to Thursday's Big Revolution, produced – on this rare occasion – on zero coffee. As soon as I
June 28 · Issue #123 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Thursday’s Big Revolution, produced – on this rare occasion – on zero coffee. As soon as I hit send, I’m getting my self a big cup.

Big things you need to know today
- Apple is planning a TV, music and magazine article subscription bundle for a single monthly fee, according to The Information.
- Apple and Samsung have settled a seven-year dispute about whether Samsung copied the iPhone in its earliest flagship Android devices. The terms of the settlement haven’t been disclosed but earlier in the proceedings, a jury had decided largely in Apple’s favour.
- Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has dined with leading US conservatives in an effort to calm accusations of a left-wing bias against at his company. Some users on Twitter have scorned Dorsey for pandering to the accusations, which they see as baseless and politically motivated. But if you’re going to try to end a dispute, talking face-to-face seems like a good idea to me.
- Snapchat is becoming a gaming platform, The Information reports. But will that keep people from decamping to Instagram?
The big thought
It's easy to ignore the charts (and Ed Sheeran). (Credit: Eva Rinaldi / Wikimedia)
It's easy to ignore the charts (and Ed Sheeran). (Credit: Eva Rinaldi / Wikimedia)
Charting the decline of charts
I see via Rolling Stone that the music charts are changing again:
In two of the biggest music markets in the world, getting a Number One record is not merely about the quantity of plays and sales now – but the quality of the play. Earlier this year, Billboard, which publishes the definitive album and song charts for the U.S. music industry, revamped its chart formulas, giving more weight to paid streams than free ones. Now, the UK’s Official Charts Company says it is following suit. 
Time was, not so long ago, that the music charts tracked what people bought. The pace and flavour of the charts changed when paid downloads started to count. Suddenly, album tracks could appear in the singles chart, or old songs might race up into the top 40 without being re-released by their record company.
Adding streaming changed things again. Now the charts reflected listening behaviour as well as buying behaviour. This led to weird situations like Ed Sheeran taking 16 places in the top 20 in March last year.
Now the charts companies are changing things again. The UK Official Charts Company will count 600 free streams, or 100 paid streams, as equivalent to one traditional sale. 
The struggle for chart operators to get their formulas right reflects not just changing consumption habits, but also the changing way we view music as a culture. We have access to more music than ever. It’s now perfectly possible to be a highly engaged music consumer and never once know whether a song is in the charts. What’s featured on a popular Spotify playlist can b more relevant than what’s in the top 10.
Charts are now so complicated, and listening behaviour now so diverse, that it’s almost like ‘what’s the point of a chart anyway?’
The days of a number one song dominating our lives for months on end is over. We each pick and choose our musical worlds, and the charts are only really relevant to the music industry and to people who choose to follow them as a form of entertainment. Represent musical culture, they do not.
One big read
Facebook’s retreat from the news has been painful for publishers—including Slate. Facebook’s retreat from the news has been painful for publishers—including Slate.
A look at just how stark the traffic drop has been for some publishers after Facebook deprioritised news. 
“At Slate, which agreed to share its internal data for the first time for this story, traffic from Facebook plummeted a staggering 87 percent, from a January 2017 peak of 28 million to less than 4 million in May 2018. It’s down more than 55 percent in 2018 alone.”
One big tweet
Is it just me, or are Twitter users angrier than ever at the moment?
Mat Honan
Twitter should replace its "What's Happening?" prompt with "What are you mad about now?"
That’s all for today...
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