Record chart

Music Charts ( also shortened English Charts ( Pluraletantum ) or German charts and charts ) refers to a method for the numerical compiling a ranking of songs over a certain period, which should reflect their popularity or their success on a limited scale.


Charts are intended to represent a measure of the success of a song. In the music charts, higher placed songs therefore the lower ranks of the charts are more successful than title, are taking. The Number One is therefore the most successful songs in the hit parade a certain period. The charts are interested in information about the ranking of songs along with artist and associated record label as well as the previous rankings back to the entry date into the charts. The order of the music is to provide information on the relative popularity of a title. The popularity or popularity of a song depends in turn on the question of the criteria by which it should be measured. As popularity criteria will the frequency of the broadcasting performance ( Airplay ), sales figures or surveys into consideration. For lack of other alternatives ( sales figures are only fragmentarily available, airplay is not an objective source) make music charts, the only generally accepted classification of songs dar.

Hit Parade -specific terms

  • Newcomer or new entry ( "entry", " newcomer " ) are songs that are listed for the first time after its official publication in a current hit parade. In many chart lists they are conspicuously marked with the words " NEW ".
  • As Chartbreaker or chart-topping song or artist is called, the new goes on one of the front seats or chart can improve its ranking from the previous week tremendously. When you start off in a hit list equal to the first place we also speak of " from zero to one ."
  • As a climber or climber of the week titles are designated, which could be improved with continuous charts compared to the placement from the previous week especially. In many Favourites therefore, there is a column that identifies a Vorwochenplatzierung. This also applies for songs that fall in the placement over the previous week especially, the term losers or losers of the week.
  • Returners ( " re-entry" ) are songs that were already recorded in a chart, fell out of it again and now re-emerge as a new arrival.
  • Crossover hits are songs that are listed because of their music genres not only in their actual charts, but also in the charts of other genres. So Michael Jackson's Rock with You was from November 1979 not only number one in the rhythm and blues charts, but also to rank one of the pop charts in the U.S..
  • Chart position is the current as well as the highest numerical rank which could reach a song.
  • Hit ( plural:. Sellers, English for Results ) is a song that has reached one of the top rankings of a hit parade. According to the extent of placement success is colloquially then also speak of a " super hit ", " top hit " or " mega-hit ".
  • Top Ten (also: Top 10) Top Twenty or Hot 100, etc. are names for the numerical extent of a hit parade and also for the placement of a song within this aggregate.
  • Number -one hit or top hit describes a song, who held the first rank of a hit parade for at least one week. In Germany since 1977, in particular the Media Control Charts are considered relevant ranks for the weekly number -one hit of Germany.
  • From a one- hit wonder is used when an artist of a single reached the top ranks of the charts, but are no more hits.


The term " hit parade " was widely used in the U.S. for the first time with the radio program "Your Hit Parade ", which aired on the NBC Radio from April 20, 1935 with 15 songs that were played in random order. Since June 1956 Your Hit Parade was televised nationally on television; the regularly scheduled program ran until June 1958. It mainly involved live performances, which were the main factor for the music industry for the determination of a hit on the radio.

The privately organized U.S. radio stations increasingly sought by an individual identification, which distinguished them from competing transmitters. In this way, initially emerged stations that played as a specific program format only pop music, Country & Western or Rhythm & Blues music. It was followed by the " Top 40 radio ," which played the latest hits and the stations gave a compact and clearly identifiable sound.

In 1952, the private radio stations KOWH in Omaha / Nebraska, and other WTIX had begun in New Orleans / Louisiana order to offer a specific program format, the Top 40 charts of Billboard. Todd Storz, owner of a radio chain - which also WTIX belonged - had observed that no more than 40 songs were selected in music boxes; Guests tended always the same play from the most 40 plates. Thus arose the still existing " Top 40 radio". That was the core of the "music rotation", according to which the most popular songs should be played more than others. As of May in 1953 other stations took this hit parade concept, so that the term " Top40 radio" stood for a radio format in which the hit parade in the Countdown principle is played with the number -one hit at the end. This format has been sent for 24 hours and consisted only of short neutral announcements without mentioning the record labels and commercial breaks. Very popular plates were played 30-40 times a day. Top 40 radio offered little room for other program content as hits, it was radio division usually based on the Billboard charts. This program format required little attention from the audience, especially since about 50 % of the audience listened to the car radio. American Top 40 is the longest running national music countdown on U.S. Radio.

Earliest Sources Hit Parade ( 1891 ) were the sale of sheet music or a ranking of ASCAP, published in the journal Phonogram ( 1891 ) or the published monthly Phonoscope ( 1896-1899 ). In particular, these records are based on Joel Whitburns Compilation Pop Memories 1890-1954, which, however, does not reach the precision of future charts because of the different sources and collection techniques. The Billboard magazine worked since its first edition from November 1, 1894, first for the advertising industry ( " billboards " are promotional posters). Weekly sheet music sales have been published in Billboard from 1913, from 1914 to 1921 provided the record companies the journal Talking Machine World with sales figures. Published from November 1934 Billboard the bestseller charts record labels, the end of 1938 the weekly compilations of the most popular panels were added in music boxes. The first release of hit parades took place on 4 January 1936 and the first "Music Popularity Chart" was compiled on July 20, 1940. Billboard used since a mixture of airplay and sales statistics. Other important U.S. music magazines with own charts were Cash Box ( October 13, 1951 to the last issue of 16 November 1996) and Record World ( completed 1981). Each magazine uses its own method in compiling its charts. Since Cash Box (1996 ) and Record World ( 1981) disappeared from the market, Billboard expanded its market power as a leading music magazine further.

Since March 7, 1952 is the British music magazine NME, which since November 14, 1952 -. Since as New Musical Express - (later "Top 30") regularly publishes charts Since the acquisition of Melody Maker by the New Musical Express in 2000, the Record Retailer and Music Week as journals with own charts are next to it still remained.

Also create radio and television stations own charts. The BBC began in 1965 with the presentation of its own hit parade, the " Fab 40 " Radio London were hit parade from 19 September 1965. Nearly all pirate radio stations had opted for the program format of the charts radios.

On the long -time third-largest recorded music market Germany, the first single - charts were published from April 1954 through the music magazine " The vending market." For the first time statistics of inserts in music boxes were made. This hit lists can be considered as the first " official" charts. The magazine " music market " has carried on the tradition and initially led local surveys and pure sales lists, which was far higher than that of the same publishing house published from 1959 total list. With switch from monthly to 14 - daily publication in the early 1960s of the survey mode was unified. There are always publishing houses, together publishing a chart statistics, however, are often not objective; especially if they rely on their own sources as archives. The first German -language hit parade on the radio was broadcast on April 6, 1958 by Radio Luxembourg ( Camillo rims). Only in 1967, the concept hit parade was listed in the Duden spelling dictionary and referred as appropriate forms of representation in radio and television broadcasts.

The market research company Media Control collects on behalf of the Federation of the Phonographic Industry week, the official German charts. To this end, over 2000 Report to the automatic ordering system " PhonoNet " connected partner shops in the Federal Republic of all CD sales that go through alternating randomly electronically over the counter and are charged with electronic cash. Large retail chains are involved it just like small businesses. The prerequisite is that the respective store carries a full range, that holds all current disks and is not specialized on about punk. Media Control performs these surveys since 1976., The transition from the music market and Radio Luxembourg conducted by then was running charts. The music market led the charts before 1971 a week, before 14 - day and first month.

In Austria there is the Austrian charts since 1965, in Switzerland, the Swiss charts since 1968.

Methods of collection

Music charts represent a statistic, so that their composition must also satisfy statistical requirements. Cost-base must be a source that provides objectively verifiable data, whilst also being quantifiable. A survey method, the total or the sample Survey ( with representative samples determined ) in question. The airplay by evaluating the playlists that the radio or TV stations for the national collecting society ( in Germany: GEMA ) must create, are measured. Sales figures can be provided by the recorded music market or by the record companies are available. Finally, representative surveys of music consumers and legal music downloads can be measured. Some charts use combinations of these data collection methods.

Another method assigns certain genres of music under a certain chart. Thus, Billboard had begun to split the existing to 1942, all music genres comprehensive pop music charts. Since October 24, 1942, there is a separate rhythm and blues charts, 8 January 1944 Country & Western Hit Parade and various other charts like the started on March 24, 1956 weekly album charts. Nevertheless, it remains technically hit parade for the pop charts over a wide range of musical styles. It ranges from the actual pop music, rock & roll, folk music, protest songs, rock music or jazz to special styles (especially Comedy, Novelty or film music) and seasonal songs such as summer hits and carols. Then there are the crossovers from their native Rhythm & Blues or Country & Western charts.

Because of the different data collection methods the charts of the various publications almost never match. The informational value is further limited by the fact that the ranking is determined in charts not music aesthetic considerations, but by often barely comprehensible popularity characteristics.

Sales Charts

Sales charts imply that only the sales of trading to end users as a criterion for the ranking of the " best sellers list " decisive. Deliveries of the music industry to the trade are not considered. In general, the absolute sales figures for economic reasons will not be published. The publication of data is limited to details such as the placement, the total number of rating weeks in the charts or the highest chart position reached.

Listeners and readers charts

Listeners and readers charts are often compiled by the Internet and / or telephone vote. They are usually organized by radio, but also by television. It is each voter either by post (rare), allows by phone or via the Internet, be ( e) favorite song (s) from a list. Own proposals Abstimmers are possible in many cases.

Airplay Charts

The Airplay chart are the ranking of the games played on the radio tracks the number of times a week and transmitter range again. The charts can be made here, for example by evaluating the transmission lists drawn up by the broadcasters or by direct observation of the programs broadcast. Basis of the determination of the inserts ( the airplay ) is nowadays usually an electronic detection system in which each song is captured by so-called " digital fingerprints", that is, in short time intervals is taken a kind of musical fingerprint. The detection system then compares the electronic structure of the emitted title in the monitored stations permanently with the fingerprints in the file. If a track is detected, the respective application is automatically recorded with the title, artist, stations and time and evaluated later. When evaluating the Plays are weighted with the respective listener reach the transmitter.

Interestingly, this type of survey, especially for the music and media industry. Since songs are first played by radio and television stations before they go on sale, the airplay is considered an indicator of the development of a title in the sales charts. By assigning radio stations and music program also the positioning of a music track in terms of the target groups is transparent. Be Published airplay charts especially in the trade press, in Germany, for example, in music week or music market.

Nielsen Music Control determined in 18 countries, the airplay charts, for example, in Austria and Germany. In Switzerland, the official Swiss Charts are created by the German company MusicTrace, this company offers on behalf of several record labels also German airplay charts at.

Merchant Charts

Dealer charts are compiled by major dealers themselves and in their own shops hung out, partly published in newspapers or on websites, bestseller lists. You are a marketing tool that promotes the sale and to refer to the listed repertoire. Conclusions on the overall market can be drawn only partly because dealers individual product ranges and marketing activities are reflected in the result.


Most charts are compiled on a weekly basis in order to take into account the extensive weekly new releases as soon as possible can. Thus even the smallest changes in the popularity can be closely monitored. Here, all, published in the previous week of my music can be considered in the current week's hit parade, provided they fulfill the potential as a new arrival. The probability not to get into the charts, has always been high. Thus, published in the first half of 1952, the then- six major labels in the U.S. a total of 788 singles, of which only 66 ( = 8.4 %) were noted in Billboard charts.


Charts form the basis for decisions for consumers and a basis for assessing program content in media. At the same time, they also serve the music industry as an important measure of the success of their interpreters. Therefore, the charts do not represent influenced by these stakeholders listings, their creator has to be independent from consumers, the media and music industry. Radio charts are determined by radio or television stations as part of the media and are therefore subject to the risk of dependency or manipulation that could affect the composition of or placement in the charts in a influence. This independence is to prevent the risk of manipulation of the charts, which could take the fact that a certain title in the "Top 10 " lands or even number one on the charts, although he was not listed there without manipulation. Accusations of manipulation are repeatedly been raised, so also in the case of Boyzones hit No Matter What or German Euro Vision Post Run And Hide by Gracia. The U.S. " payola " scandal of 1959 again brought to the fore that radio stations were bribed by the record industry, so they preferred playing certain songs in order to influence this increased airplay charts the placement. Famous disc jockeys such as Alan Freed were involved herein and were punished.

The charts are a fragile barometer of public taste, especially these days, sales of already 2,000 to 3,000 CDs a week is enough to pretty high to get into the charts, possibly even in the "Top Ten". In 1968 in the United States still had 750,000 singles sold in order to achieve a top position in the charts in 1979 already sufficed 50,000. In addition, the plate sales are seasonal heavily concentrated in the winter time, so in the summer lower sales figures for a good chart placement satisfy ( summer hit ) than in winter. With the decrease of the absolute sales figures, the risk of manipulation of those charts that are based as -base solely on sales increases.


" Charts do not really reflect the bestseller except in relation to the other chart positions of the same hit parade ". Beginning of 1980 continued in the United States one of the top 5 titles to 700,000 copies, and " two years earlier had this position requires a turnover of three million ," estimated Cynthia Kirk from the magazine Variety. Lower sales levels are also reflected on the gold or platinum status a plate. Goods in Germany in 1976, a million singles needed for a gold record, there are still only 150,000 units since 2003. The global reference point for million-seller by Joseph Murrells counts a single as a unit, an EP and an album as a two than six units, but also needs to make revenue estimates. Murrells proves often that a million-seller was not advanced to the first rank, which was blocked by another title, which had been less strongly sale.

" There is nobody who can make the accurate location of the plate sales of White Christmas ," says industry expert Bob Livingston. Also, returns of unsold panels can correct the turnover statistics nor down. To examine the RIAA that the gold or platinum award status in the U.S., after a waiting period of 120 days the exact sales figures. The transfer of sales, airplay, or online downloads in a recent compilation by order represents a highly subjective process represents the tabulation of a particular chart is not a measure of the intensity ( sales, airplay, etc. ) so that a certain top- 10 hit a certain period might have exceeded the number -one hit another time.


Charts represent a selection criterion by choosing from the wide range of music tracks, a limited number ( "Top ten ", " Top Twenty", " Hot 100 " ), and these bring with the help of the Survey type described in an order that survey caused scheduled re is created. Thus, they focus the attention of consumers in this limited number of hits. They serve the consumers of music as an important guide when deciding what to buy. The consumer has the option of titles in stores or on the radio and TV to be heard before his decision. Auditory impression and status charts are next to the affinity for certain artists, sounds or music styles, the main criteria of the buying decision. For the radio or TV stations, the charts represent a popularity scale on which they can base their playlists. Retailers, in turn used charts for his order lists to thereto to orient the recordings ordered by title and amount. Because chart positions influence program decisions on the radio or TV and ordering decisions in the trade, they act consequently also on the sales of the record labels. Charts are a tool of the music industry, because record labels enjoy a special prestige when they produce constant chart hits or even often reach number-one rankings. This self-reinforcing process can affect promotional. Finally, successful national Hits ensure that you are covered internationally licensed in other states. Even artists are favored by good chart positions, as their status at the record company and the fans increases. Charts often from other media (radio, television, press, literature) are used as reference for the meeting of songs.

Number -one hit

For number -one hit is a phonogram ( single, LP, CD or DVD) if he has at least has taken first place a certain charts for a week. The number -one hit in the charts enjoys a particularly prominent status because it features the top ranked recordings of a hit parade period. This exclusively statistical attribute is of particular importance because it is theoretically a month and only 4 in the year can give 52 number-one hits and standing in contrast, appeared in Germany in 2012 a total of 6,698 singles title. Thus, the probability that it brings to a single number -one hit, just 0.8 % per title. This probability decreases / increases both with the increase / decrease of new releases as well as the residence time of a hit on the first rank. So there was in Germany throughout 1959 only 7 songs that occupied the first rank, in 2003 the share was 25 number - one hits, both for the music industry as well as in the media and the consumers of importance. The music industry is celebrating the first rank in any charts as a particular success, concentrating on the affected artists more than any other performer without this status; a first rank in the charts can have a positive impact on the recording contract. For interpreters of the status of a first-tier is regarded as an outward symbol of stardom, radio stations favor the first rank with a more intense airplay, consumers commonly work in their purchasing decisions at number-one hits. With a number -one hit can also be connected to the possibility of a moderate turnover Bestsellers ( million seller ), although this does not apply automatically.


Analogous to Bestseller research in literary studies, the hit parade comparable to the best-seller list reference category; they carry out certain directive functions for different instances of the music industry such as record labels, the music business, airplay or buyer. The songs contained in these charts or in particular the Leader on the list of songs are called hits. This can be determined without doubt what music works were most successful.

The pioneer of research Bestsellers Werner Faulstich the phenomenon of the bestseller investigated, which can be transferred by analogy to hits. The charts appearing in music are not necessarily musikologisch or music aesthetically the best, but the most sought after in a particular time period. Factors that make a hit, in particular advertising, media, music critic, music fairs, bestseller lists, summer hits and - not least - interested buyers. Another factor is the so-called personalization by stars. Therefore already known artists benefit from their brand profile, so that for instance a new release of Robbie Williams in its segment from the start, has a better chance than a still unknown artist. Have also been proven the influence of phonogram companies that dominate the market for recorded music. You have a better chance of ending up in the charts as a small independent labels. Bestsellers arise in markets where product-related knowledge represents a consumptive use relevant requirement. Prerequisite for the existence of stars are sufficient duplication options (ie other recordings ), hereby order to be able to meet the demand, once created, leading to the superstar. Knowledge Acquisition on the plate market is analogous by

  • Direct contact with the offer ( currently invested listening time or has already taken place consumption of recorded music of the same artist )
  • Indirect contact through information channels (advertising, media coverage )
  • Personal interaction with other people ( word of mouth ).

Examples of national Charts

  • Billboard Hot 100 (United States)
  • Billboard 200 ( USA )
  • UK Top 40 ( UK )
  • Media Control Charts ( Germany )
  • Ö3 Austria Top 40 ( Austria )
  • Swiss Charts ( Switzerland )
  • Nederlandse Top 40 (Netherlands)
  • Sverigetopplistan (Sweden)
  • Svensktoppen (Sweden)
  • New Zealand Top 40 (New Zealand)
  • Oricon (Japan)
  • Gaon Chart (South Korea)