Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CMJ Issue 1280 Recap.

Welcome to my first ever CMJ recap!  When I first started in college radio CMJ magazine gave me a wealth of information. They broke down what the #1 record was across the country but they also broke it down for you and told you who was #1 in the South, East, North and West.  There were tons of reviews and opinions and I looked forward to it each week. Somewhere along the line all of that stopped.

So I feel like you all in radio are cheated. While I do not have the formulas to tell you what the #1 record would be in each region or state I can look at the numbers that are there and provide some insight on what they mean.  And thats what I want to do. Each week I will look at the CMJ charts and give you my take on whats going on. My hope is to provide you with a greater knowledge of the CMJ charts, what the information means to me might be different to you but I will always try and back up what I am saying with #'s.  CMJ provides a forum for us that we all pay for, and I think they would frown upon me giving out too much information so I will give what I think is ok and adjust if needed.

So lets get to it. I hope you enjoy.

This week saw a new #1 record in Yo La Tengo's --FADE  It marks the 3rd new #1 record of the year following Bat for Lashes and Crystal Castles.    This week there were 248 stations that reported to CMJ and Yo La Tengo was on 45% (.451) of the charts.  When we compare that to the last 2 weeks, Crystal Castles last week  had 45% (.456) and Bat For lashes had 48%.

It's interesting to see the percentage go down the more reporters and records there are. The more of a choice there is the harder it is to get to #1. So while the percentage is not as good it does not mean Yo La Tengo's #1 is less impressive. If anything it is more impressive given the increase in competition.

CMJ's chart goes to 200 and it's important to note that in any given week there are another 200+ records all trying to get on the charts. But it has always interested me as to what it takes to get on the charts.  So lets look at this weeks #200 record ELIN RUTH.  Where we saw Yo La Tengo on 45% of all the charts we saw Elin Ruth on .04% of the charts!  But there were 2 more records that had LESS than that and were yet higher on the chart! Both State Radio and Kid Koala tied with .02%!!!

One thing I like that CMJ continues to provide is the biggest Jump and the highest debut.
This week the honors go to Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite with an impressive 134 jump! The best debut of the week goes to Growlers coming in at #7! But what about the largest DROP! This week that honor goes to Sufjan Stevens with a huge 111 spot drop! ( It should be noted he did peak at #8 and has been on the chart for 7 weeks)
 Speaking of debuts and drops this week there was an impressive 33 new records on the chart!

There were also 14 Self released records

One thing that always puzzled me about the CMJ charts is how a record can in the same spot. There are so many things going on, new records, promotion companies, records moving up and records moving down it takes a LOT of luck to stay in the same place.   This week there were 4 records that ran in place.  Babies, Melodys Echo Chamber, IO Echo, and Spyrals. Only IO ECHO lost stations.  Babies lead the way with a 11 station jump.  But when you are up in the top 10 you sometimes need more than just 10 stations to get a jump.

Lastly lets look at the ADDS chart. There are always less stations that report adds than charts. Some weeks it can be a ten station difference and other weeks it is a 30 station difference but it is always less. Mostly because the majority of stations do not understand adds. ADDS should provide a window to what will be happening on the chart in the future. Depending on the week the #1 most added record could be a future top 5 record or a future top 100 record. So it will be fun to watch this year and see what happens with all the #1 most added records. So far this year we have seen Mother Mother, Ra Ra Riot and Toro Y Moi take the #1 most added spot. Thus far none of those records have taken #1 but it is way too early to tell if that will happen. Ra Ra Riot is already up to #3 and Toro Y Moi debuted at #15.

This time of year there is a lot of volatility with so many new records being released, everyone coming back wanting to play new records. Everyone tired of playing what they were playing in November so that means a lot of big jumps and shifts.

I think that does it for the first recap. Some things I will be looking at this year is how promotion companies effect the charts and adds and also how and if pitchfork reviews effect chart position. If you have any suggestions or comments please let me know.

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