Magazine article Variety

Going to School on Album Math - and a Duty to Nurture the Arts

Magazine article Variety

Going to School on Album Math - and a Duty to Nurture the Arts

Article excerpt

Keep it simple stupid. That's what nobody at Billboard seems to understand. Don't give me formulas, give me reality.

The Billboard 200 albums chart in the magazine dated Dec. 13 was the first to include on-demand streaming and digital track sales. Billboard says the chart is based on "a new algorithm," but the fact that it's still mainly an album-sales chart makes it irrelevant.

The only thing that counts is "listens." But the whole industry is based on albums, so they don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Instead, they come up with this inane hybrid chart and then trumpet it as the answer. But album sales are tanking.

People need to look to the destination, admit that streaming has already won, and that as a result, the winners in the music derby might not be the same. They need to wrap their heads around the fact that the majority of streaming revenues go to rights-holders, and how they divvy it up with their partners is subject to contract.

Just round up all the streaming services and give us a ranking. Hell, we don't even need to know how many listens there were. Just put them in order based purely on that one statistic, with no malarkey involved. None of this crap about track equivalent albums and X number of streams equaling a sale. Do you see Netflix telling us how many views equal one DVD?

Industries that satisfy themselves and not their consumers are headed for extinction. People haven't listened to albums from start to finish since the advent of the CD. Macs don't come with disk drives. Neither do Chromebooks, which are infiltrating educational institutions.

MUSIC SCHOOL

And speaking of education, I'm sick and tired of reading about Max Martin and Adele, products of their countries' respective music academies, and being subjected to the dash-for-cash lowest-common-denominator American dreck made by people who can neither sing nor play, never mind that they have nothing to say. …

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