Who ordered a new chart? Anyone? Bueller? Hold up – this one is slightly different. After Rolling Stone put the Billboard charts in its crosshairs with the launch of a daily chart in July, some began to wonder if we’d hit Peak Charts for singles and albums. Thankfully the latest chart from Billboard is based around Bandsintown data and is therefore trying to make sense of the live music – rather than recorded music – business.
They are being called the “first data-driven online live music charts” and will focus on touring activity for acts in 10 major cities in the US and a number of other international markets, tracking the acts drawing the most user attention on Bandsintown. This is all great and it is obviously very useful to keep an eye on what is happening here. But – and there is a but – it’s not one chart: there will be 24 (yes, twenty-four) of them. These include monthly charts for worldwide as well as charts specific to the US focusing on emerging acts and established ones. On top of this there will be weekly “buzzing and emerging artist charts” on a city level.
It could be argued that the recorded business has too many charts and the live business has too few (or, to be more precise, the live business is perhaps more circumspect with its data). Speak to managers and artists, however, and they will talk about the huge disconnect between the data they get from recorded and that which they get from live and how difficult – for a variety of reasons – it is to marry them up. More live data is to be welcomed, but the longer game has to be focused on how different data sets from different parts of the business can finally work together – and not just sit in isolation.