What makes a song a top hit? Is it the instruments, singers, sound, tempo, or rhythm? Or is it more mathematically calculated? A top hit is given a rating from SoundScan that is shown to us courtesy of the Billboard top hits list. Songs listed under the category top hits are usually our favorite and most catchy tunes. The more a song is played, the more we like it, and are more inclined to buy the band or solo artist’s CD or download the song onto our home computers.
Mike Shallet and Mike Fine are the creators of the Nielsen SoundScan. It is a calculated method of information that tracks and records the number of sales of CDs and other music products. To be listed as a top hit, the band or artist needs to sell a lot of CDs or music videos/products and stay consistent with sales. The higher the sales, the higher up on the list they will be. You can find the list of top sales on the Billboard music charts which are released weekly. Billboard uses SoundScan information to produce their list.
Consumers control the outcome of the Nielsen SoundScan because the tracking is recorded by music products sold in retail stores and online. SoundScan works just like the Nielsen television ratings. A group or association doesn’t control what shows are ranked as a number one hit. The more viewers that are tuned into a show make that particular show the hit that it is. The same is for CDs. It is a number recorded of total products sold.
SoundScan has a big influence on how Billboard ranks the artists on their list. SoundScan tracks the total number of CDs sold, and then Billboard uses that number in addition to radio and download time to determine who will be ranked number one.
Artists’ CDs are also rated by their production company. For example, it is a huge honor for a CD to be considered platinum. A platinum rating means that a song, from a CD, has sold one million copies. A platinum CD is based on a sales number. Nielsen SoundScan tracks the number sold. Again, these numbers are reflected on the consumer and what CDs we are purchasing or downloading.
Without an artist’s fan base, their success would go unnoticed. Consumers are what drive the hits we see on the Billboard top lists. Bands make it to the top because we buy their music and support their careers.
About the Author: Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.