For half a century, the Billboard Hot 100 has been thought to be the most accurate bellwether of what the biggest songs are. Every week, it takes into account radio airplay and singles sales, puts those numbers into a complicated formula and determines which tracks are becoming ubiquitous and which ones are falling off.
But in the modern era, a song's airplay and sales numbers don't necessarily tell the whole story, as songs are streamed on YouTube, watched on MTV, posted to Facebook, downloaded through countless blogs and searched for on Google. With that in mind, BigChampagne — an organization that has spent years tracking music on the Internet — has come up with the Ultimate Chart, a listing that synthesizes the statistics from all the various places you can hear music and determines which songs are truly the biggest in the virtual world.
The chart itself is the result of hard statistics and human analysis. "The Ultimate Chart is a chart for the 21st century, based on a scalable technology platform developed over more than ten years," reads the introduction on the site. "We collect billions of points of data, online and off. Our machines are very clever but our analysts are too. Real people grade the computers' work to ensure accuracy. We collect more relevant information from more sources than anyone ever has, by our count."
The big winners on the new chart include Eminem and Rihanna, whose "Love the Way You Lie" (from Eminem's Recovery) is listed as the #1 song, just ahead of Katy Perry's "California Gurls" (which has had a stranglehold on the Billboard chart for more than a month). Shakira also fares extremely well, as her "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" comes in at #3. That track is an excellent example of how a song can transcend the normal parameters of the other chart, because while the radio airplay for Shakira's tune wasn't great, it was still streamed online and searched for around the world due to its connection to the World Cup.
A lot of the usual suspects are still represented on the Ultimate Chart. For example, Justin Bieber rules just as he does on the Hot 100, though his highest-charting tune on the Ultimate Chart remains "Baby," even though "Somebody to Love" is finishing higher on the Billboard version. It wouldn't be shocking if "Baby" earned that spot due to the surge in YouTube views of the video. Bieber's YouTube rival Lady Gaga is also well represented on the Ultimate Chart, with three songs ("Alejandro," "Bad Romance" and "Telephone") all in the top 20.
The Ultimate Chart also tracks the most ubiquitous artists based on airplay, streams, searches and social-network followers and friends. Eminem tops that chart as well, followed by Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Shakira and Drake, which is a deadly accurate assessment of the pop music landscape.
What do you think of the Ultimate Chart? Do you agree with its results? Let us know in the comments!