Conundrum: Downloads and physical

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Conundrum: Downloads and physical

Postby ukcharts » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:30 pm

Whilst tidying up the 2010 data ready for the first draft I've run across a question that's bugging me a little, and I wondered what people's thoughts were;

Prior to the download era, if a record was issued with two different catalogue numbers it was credited with two different entries in the chart (as a general rule - there were exceptions) or as a remix or re-recording if it was a different version of the title track.

However, since the introduction of downloads we now have the scenario whereby, either through design or otherwise, an album track charts several weeks before the single version is available, yet it appears the runs are being combined even when the single track is a different version, to the point where collaborators are added.

A current example would be The Saturdays top ten hit, Higher, which first entered on 19th September as a download only album track (Headlines LP, released 16th August), and was then released as a single with additional vocals by Flo Rida (released with various remixes on 31st October and included as a track on the Extended edition of the album a week later) and the chart entry was amended to reflect this for the 13th November chart . However, despite amending the artist(s), the official charts are treating it as one continuous run. Ok, I appreciate that the chart entry for the new version will include sales of the original version (as well as all the remixes, etc), but I have two questions to throw open to the floor.

Should we be splitting the runs into
    two separate entries
    one entry as per the original entry with any changes annotated in the spreadsheet
    one entry as per the single version with any previous version annotated in the spreasheet
    something else

How should we name the physical track, depending on the results of the question above? Either some form of "alt" indicator for the non-single version, or both as "a" sides, with the correct artist being the differential?

I'm interested to hear what others may think.

Bert
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kirkm
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Re: Conundrum: Downloads and physical

Postby kirkm » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:56 pm

Hi Bert,

Yes, these newer charts seem quite different to the earlier ones. If I had to make a choice I'd tend to go with your option 2. If the various versions are being combined into one run, we should maybe do the same to keep compatibility. In effect the title would get the serial number and additional versions share the number, or be assigned a subletter like individual album tracks. Subletters might be useful to ID or reference the differences ?

This would be 'open-ended' and allow us to add more versions without worrying about the serial numbers.

Your option 3 (one entry as per the single version) suggests the album charting version be excluded... wouldn't that be a bad thing ? And cause occasional incomplete charts ??

For naming, I'd suggest the first one to chart be yyyy_0001a - Artist - Title, then 'b', 'c' etc.

Unless of course, there's other factors to consider...
Good work with all the newer stuff, too :D There's *so* much more compared to the old days!

Cheers - Kirk

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Re: Conundrum: Downloads and physical

Postby ukcharts » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:04 pm

kirkm wrote:Your option 3 (one entry as per the single version) suggests the album charting version be excluded... wouldn't that be a bad thing ? And cause occasional incomplete charts ??

For naming, I'd suggest the first one to chart be yyyy_0001a - Artist - Title, then 'b', 'c' etc.

I confess a preference for #3. My only problem with using any other option is that the definitive single version will be lost amongst the b-sides and remixes. I suppose you could argue that the "single version" is just a mix of the original charting album track though. I'm a little wary that the first "a-side" track release will send a load of album tracks into the ether and the single versions may sit around for ages for a b-side release, and that the spreadsheet will, by default, play the album track.

Bert
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Re: Conundrum: Downloads and physical

Postby kirkm » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:49 pm

I might be missing something.... but if all versions are grouped together wouldn't that prevent anything being 'lost' ? And if the first to chart is designated "a" with the rest in sequence, they would all 'play' in the same way an album does... no one version would become the default?

But I hasten to add you're probably considering factors I havent thought of ! I'm also totally at sea with the newer B-Sides and if they'll be included in the same way as 50s-70s, or not. I suppose there's no such thing as a CD B-Side , just extra tracks... which may or may not be A-Sides too. And something that charts through downloading.... no B-Side at all ?

Cheers - Kirk

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Re: Conundrum: Downloads and physical

Postby ukcharts » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:24 am

kirkm wrote:I might be missing something.... but if all versions are grouped together wouldn't that prevent anything being 'lost' ? And if the first to chart is designated "a" with the rest in sequence, they would all 'play' in the same way an album does... no one version would become the default?

I think that most people would consider the "a" track to be equivalent to an "a-side". I suppose it will depend how the spreadsheet handles the 90s+ data and how the tracks are stored locally. If we continue with a and b side folders then there's a potential issue.

Is there a difference between a remix in the 1980s and the 2010s? Only in the way they are available, IMO. We've always concentrated on the charting single version, and if there have been two versions they've always had their own chart run, now that's no longer the case.

kirkm wrote:But I hasten to add you're probably considering factors I havent thought of ! I'm also totally at sea with the newer B-Sides and if they'll be included in the same way as 50s-70s, or not. I suppose there's no such thing as a CD B-Side , just extra tracks... which may or may not be A-Sides too.

I don't think there's a major problem there, I would think any track other than the main charting track is a "b-side". Given the plethora of formats now available, perhaps it would be simpler to choose a "main" version to label as the "a-side" and any others follow alphabetically. I think most of the time this will be a simple task, the first track on a CD, the "Radio Edit", etc. I'm happy to make the call on a release-by-release basis if needs be.

kirkm wrote: And something that charts through downloading.... no B-Side at all ?

And no A-Side even :shock:

Here's another example that shows you what we're up against;

Paloma Faith released "New York" as a single in September 2009, I believe a direct cut from the album. It charted for a few weeks. After a 28 week break it was re-released with additional vocals from Ghostface Killah mixed in and charted again. The break makes this one simple with our existing rules, two different entries in two different years, but should we consider the second version a re-entry of the first. And what if both peaks had been the same year? And > 26 weeks apart?

So ... my further thoughts;

The "a-side" should be the version most likely to have been heard on the radio at the time and available to purchase, either physically or via download. I think that gives us the consistency of the "single" version.
Chart runs should be consistent with the Official UK Charts runs, so variations may be combined, but those variations should be annotated either using a comments field or a comment in the run itself (or both!).

I think that gives us very simple ground-rules?

Bert

Amended for clarification
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