‘Problem’ is First Number 1 of the Internet Age

Hype is dead and social media plus the Internet killed it. The announcement this month that pop charts will no longer be made up of the bestselling single records is another example of this truism. Half a century ago, the radio 1 chart show was compulsory listening for any self-respecting teenager. Sunday afternoon would find them closeted in their bedroom, plugged into the radio as ‘disc jockeys’, counted down to the record that had literally been bought and paid for in a store, more times than any other that week.

Imagine a typical teenage Sunday afternoon in 2014 and it will probably not include the chart show. The music industry and the broadcasters are very late in catching up to the reality of how teens get their music nowadays. Most listened to has nothing to do with most money changing hands, numbers of downloads and number of times a song has been streamed are the true measures of popularity in the Internet age. It’s about time too. The inclusion of the ‘hits’ in the chart calculation may bring teens back to listening because they are more likely to hear what they want to hear, rather than what the music moguls want to sell to them.

It’s an irreversible trend, because the music history books will no longer compare like with like. Indeed if they ever did. From now on a hundred streams of a song will be the equivalent of 1 old style sale. Physical, over the counter music purchases have never been fewer and they are almost certainly the province of post teens and adults. It’s only right and the only question is why 100 to 1? That is a big weighting in favour of the old ways.

Be that as it may the first number 1 of the Internet age charts is Ariana Grande’s song ‘Problem’. It feature the outrageous Iggy Azalea, a white female Australian rap newcomer. The pop charts have come into the 21st century with streams and downloads from the like of Spotify, Deezer, Napster, O2 Tracks, Xbox Music and Sony’s Music Unlimited all adding to the chart rankings along with actual and cyber sales. This is according to the Official Charts Company.

‘Problem’ with the added feature of Iggy Azalea is this week’s number 1 having ‘sold’ a total of 113,000 units. There were 712 thousand streams and or downloads. It’s a first for Ariana Grande and the charts. In the charts as a whole, the new Internet data contributed around a fifth to the total calculations.

Scooter Braun is the manager steering the career of Ariana, thus far. He also was delighted with this week’s chart, but was a little more sanguine than the pop star herself, since he is the man behind Justin Bieber and Psy. With his brand building hat on, he gave credit for the achievement to Ariana’s loyal British fans. He said it was ‘a big week for them too’.
At number 2 in the charts is a song that was streamed more than a million time in the previous week. It is ‘Ghost’ by the ‘X’ factor contestant Ella Henderson. At number 3 the Glastonbury festival revealed it’s power with the rising up of George Ezra’s ‘Budapest’. While ‘Sing’ by George Ezra is at 4, but it was the number 1 as far as streaming is concerned with more than 1.3 million hits. Ezra’s album, ‘X’ is also number 1 on that chart. He has the number 3 album also ‘Wanted on Voyage’. It is the fastest selling album this year.