Last.fm and Future Music
There was much excitement recently, when it was announced that a revamped Music Week would include a chart from Last.fm. This is the site, we're told, that really discovered the Arctic Monkeys and so on.
Now I must admit that I've never really persevered with Last.fm to the extent of using it properly. It might well introduce me to all sorts of music that I've not previously heard, but I'm always suspicious of just hearing the will of the masses. In other words, the most popular albums will always ride to the top because everybody has them.
Anyhow, it was with interest that I turned to this week's Music Week to see what interesting new songs are being highlighted by Last.fm.
Well the top ten is dominated by Kate Nash who has four songs in it, including the number one - Foundations, which is also her current single. The album only came out last week, so it's not surprising that everybody's listening.
The number two is Misery Business by Paramore (misspelt in the paper incidentally) which is a single released back in June that didn't trouble the charts too much reaching the dizzy heights of number 31. For a band like Paramore, this is probably helping their album, Riot, which currently sits at number 47.
Elsewhere we find Starlight by Muse at number 5. A great song undoubtedly, although it came out in September last year, so not exactly cutting edge. Just behind that we find Kanye West's Stronger, which is also the current number one. Then there's another Muse track, Supermassive Black Hole, a single from June last year.
Then there's Hey There Delilah by the Plain White T's [sic] which is still high in the charts at number 6, although the album it comes from, Every Second Counts, was originally released last year. However, the album is currently unavailable, with an imminent re-release next week.
Finally there's Golden Skan by Klaxons which was released in, er, January this year.
What I'm trying to say here, is that this chart isn't much use for predicting the next big thing, aside from giving Kate Nash's record company some food for thought when they think about what to release from her album as a follow up to Foundations. And a few other record companies might be a bit miffed that some songs weren't as big hits as they might have been - but that's always been the case.
To be fair, there are two additional charts that Last.fm is reported to be supplying: a global version (this one is UK only), and a "hype list" showing artists that have risen most in the last month, and as the Guardian column linked to above suggests, it'll be this chart that'll be the most useful. But it remains to be seen how different it'll be from the radio airplay charts already published which obviously include pre-release tracks, as well the overall pre-release top 20, which is currently led by James Blunt (1973), The Twang (Two Lovers) and the very fine Scouting For Girls (She's So Lovely). Although with Razorlight's America at 17 and Lily Allen's Smile at 19, I'm not quite sure what "Pre-Release" actually really means.