Saturday, August 9, 2014

"Popular", Rankings, and Misinformation

At Inside The Rock Era, we take it upon ourselves to clear up misinformation in the music industry.  For instance, a #1 Country song means that the song is only #1 in that genre; it is not a #1 song overall.  And yes, Janis Joplin only had one big hit, and Jimi Hendrix only had two.  It's tough enough in the music business, especially when you're not around long. 

Some people use a loose definition of "hit" when describing how well a song or artist has done.  Being in the music industry for nearly 40 years now in some capacity, I can tell you that most industry professionals define "a hit" as a Top 10 or at the worst, a Top 15 song.  For if it doesn't achieve a higher rank than that, it usually won't get airplay into the future.  That is true for Top 40 stations, which play the overall hits, for Country stations (which only play the biggest hits of their genre), for Classic Rock stations, etc.

But it bears repeating that a hit on an Album Rock station or Country station doesn't mean it was a hit overall.  I always tell people who are confused by this, or incredulous on how a song or artist that they absolutely love isn't that popular with the general population:  "The world is made up of many types of people of all ages in hundreds of countries.  What is cranked up on your stereo to maximum volume may very well be something others (including your neighbors!) loathe.  To best understand this, what does your grandmother (if you're young enough) think of AC/DC, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath?  And if you're older, what does your son or grandson think of Barry Manilow, Tony Orlando & Dawn, and Paul Anka?  Musical tastes are all over the map, though of course the "baby boomer" generation dominates the population currently and has the largest influence on song and artist rankings.

Rather than protest why one of your favorite artists isn't ranked higher, or given the attention you feel they deserve, instead celebrate your individuality.  We are positive you don't like a song or artist because someone else does--you like it because you are unique and the song or artist speaks to you.  It's OK if it isn't popular.  But at the same time, it's also important to realize what songs and artists are popular, and which aren't quite as popular; that's part of learning, an essential part of life.

We're here to help with that as it relates to music.  When we do rankings, they aren't just on a whim or based on any personal opinions, but rather, they are based on well-thought out methodology and research.  It isn't perfect, but we're always happy to discuss the reasons behind the rankings with you.  We think that's better than getting emotionally involved and spouting out crazy rankings from our personal library.

That said, we always encourage you to just enjoy the music specials, instead of focusing on the numbers and the rankings.  After all, it's the music that matters.

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