Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday This And That

I posted the following message on a couple of oldies-related boards. It relates to the decision that Billboard has made to include YouTube views in compiling their Hot 100.
The message speaks for itself.
Gone! The Billboard Hot 100 as we have known it!  It's not as if I have been following the Hot 100 much lately. In fact I have not, for the past maybe 20 years or so. 
But this news is unbelievable, at least to me.
My personal view is that if wants to use YouTube then they should consider doing a chart based purely on YouTube views, if that's possible. But I do not think that YouTube should be part of the Hot 100. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not EVER!
In the back of my mind I can envision a hotshot computer programmer (not ME, LOL!) who will figure out a way to create software to artificially make YouTube videos increase to astronomical levels. If this is done (and I don't believe it's at all beyond the realm of possibility, than record charts in the future could become more fraudulent than ever before.
If this were happening around April 1st I would think it might be an April Fool's joke. But that is not the case.
Please forgive any typos on my part. They may occur because I feel somewhat emotional about this.
To put it concisely: I think this is a lousy idea and that's putting it mildly.

Do you agree or disagree?
Either way, here's the info, for what it's worth.
And by the way, if you don't recognize any of the titles mentioned within the article below, don't feel bad. I am sure that you are not alone!
The importance of this to me is this decision on the part of Billboard to do make what I consider to be this absurd move rather than the specific hits mentioned below.

    This week the Billboard Hot 100, the magazine’s 55-year-old singles chart, takes a evolutionary step by incorporating YouTube plays into its formula. The move comes just in time for Baauer’s song "Harlem Shake," the latest viral video phenomenon, which will make its debut at No. 1 this week thanks to the change.
    "Harlem Shake," a bass-heavy hip-hop track with no lyrics beyond a few samples, got little mainstream attention when it was released in May as a free download. But this month its popularity exploded on YouTube, as thousands of fans uploaded videos of themselves dancing — some might say simply flailing — along to the song. By last week more than 4,000 videos were going up each day.
    Download sales and Spotify streams of the track also skyrocketed. But the remarkable trajectory of "Harlem Shake" led Billboard to move forward right away on its methodology update, something it had been in discussions with YouTube about for nearly two years, Bill Werde, the magazine’s editorial director, said on Wednesday.
    "The notion that a song has to sell in order to be a hit feels a little two or three years ago to me," Mr. Werde said. "The music business today — much to its credit — has started to learn that there are lots of different ways a song can be a hit, and lots of different ways that the business can benefit from it being a hit."
    The move is Billboard’s latest step in modernizing the Hot 100, which besides sales and airplay now also incorporates data from streaming services like Spotify. YouTube has taken on an essential role in propelling songs to the cultural forefront, often long before they are picked up by radio programmers.
    Psy’s "Gangnam Style" and Carly Rae Jepsen’s "Call Me Maybe" are the most prominent examples of this trend, but plenty of other recent hits — like Gotye's Grammy-winning "Somebody That I Used To Know" — also owe much of their success to video virality.
    The rise of "Harlem Shake" is all the more remarkable because of its speed. With only 18,000 downloads the song did not make the last Hot 100 chart at all. But last week it caught fire online, and across the tens of thousands of its scattered YouTube dance videos the song had 103 million views in the United States, according to YouTube, and sold 262,000 downloads, making it the third-most downloaded track of the week. (Even without the YouTube data, "Harlem Shake" would have charted in the Top 15 this week, Mr. Werde said.)
    Billboard's charts are based on data collected by Nielsen SoundScan, which has also been modernizing its data. When the service started in 1991, it gave the music industry its first reliable, third-party sales data, transforming the way record labels, retailers and others did business. Now Nielsen also tracks radio plays and most major streaming services.
    "We want to measure how much consumption is going on, in whatever form a consumer chooses to consume something," said David Bakula, a senior analyst at Nielsen.
    Also on the charts this week a number of acts benefited from their exposure at the Grammy Awards. Mumford & Sons rose three spots to return to No. 1 with "Babel" (Glassnote), the album of the year, which sold 185,000 copies last week. And a compilation of this year’s Grammy nominees is No. 2 with 88,000 sales.
    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s track "Thrift Shop" was once again the most-downloaded track of the week, with 412,000 sales. But with the arrival of "Harlem Shake," it falls to No. 2 on the Hot 100.

    I read the same thing and was a bit surprised. I kind of get it ... remember in the old days when their chart (pre-Hot 100) used to include jukebox plays ... heck, at one point they even included sheet music sales. So if they're trying to fully encompass the scope of just how popular a given piece of music is, then this makes sense ... more people listen to music on youTube these days than through any other source. (I like the fact that Werde acknowledges that without including youTube views "Harlem Shake" would have placed at #15 on this week's chart ... that's a pretty amazing percentage factor to propel it all the way to #1 ... especially after not being on the chart at all a week ago!!!) 
    But I also see the point to where a label with a big budget to spend could simply have THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people click "play" on any given track to help distort its actual amount of viewership. (Then again, some of the more popular videos on youTube have upwards of 40 million views already ... so there's no denying the impact.) 
    What this does (and has continued to do for some time now) is to greatly distort any kind of comparison regarding how popular a piece of music is today vs. a hit from 30, 40 or 50 years ago. It's not a level playing ground. Music comes and goes much more quickly now. (I think I heard that on the next episode of "Glee", they'll be performing their 500th song!!!! In the first 18 months of the series, 130 titles by the "Glee" cast charted on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart. Did any of them really matter? No ... but because downloading music is the way we purchase today, the charts HAVE to reflect the current buying trends of any given era. 
    Look at the music department in any of your big chain stores ... assuming they even still HAVE a music department ... and you'll see that this is NOT the way most people buy music today. How many stand alone, "new" record stores are you aware of? Where they sell nothing else but the latest releases? Like it or not, the times have changed ... and I believe Billboard simply wants to reflect those trends on their chart. How accurate will they be? That's a tough call. Like I said, the points seem pretty weighted if youTube views can propel a record from #15 to #1! (kk)

Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed seeing the video of Rick Nelson on What's My Line!!!
I have been a huge fan of the whole Nelson family. I never got to see Rick in person, but have enjoyed seeing Matthew and Gunnar several times. I grew up watching Ozzie and Harriet.
Thanks for posting the video!!
LeAnn Zerck
Albert Lea, Minnesota     

From FH Reader Frank B (by way of the WCBS-FM website):
Paul McCartney just posted a message to his official website regarding the death of musician Tony Sheridan: “Tony was a good guy who we knew and worked with from the early days in Hamburg. We regularly watched his late night performances and admired his style. He will be missed.” Sheridan died over the weekend.    

It's not working ...
Fans have been leaving WLS-FM in droves since their recent format change. I still don't get it ... they've hired back some of the biggest names from their old roster ... and then don't let them talk and display any personality during their program ... which consists of the same 200-300 songs by the same 20-30 artists over and over and over again. Gee, I wonder why people got bored listening.
In the latest Arbitron ratings released this week, WLS-FM has fallen to 16th place in overall listeners. In the desirable demographic, they don't place in the Top 15 at all ... although WJMK-FM / K-Hits HAS creeped in now at #15. Most of us don't even stop by the station anymore to see what they're playing ... because we already KNOW what they're playing ... which is EXACTLY the same thing they played earlier today, yesterday and will play again tonight and tomorrow ... there is no entertainment value or reason to come back. We've already switched to The Drive or The River or The Loop or K-Hits because we're finding more of what we want to hear there (and everywhere ... sorry, I just couldn't resist!!!)
And the ratings only show a specific group of listeners ... a "target group" if you will ... my guess is the REAL numbers are far more dramatic. I don't know ANYONE who used to listen to WLS-FM that still does. Sure, I still have a button set for them in the car ... but they are now my SIXTH choice if I'm surfing the dial because there's nothing on anywhere else. (And, as promised, I'm listening to more CD's than ever in the car ... I typically have half a dozen with me every single day!!!) 
To quote one of our local heroes (who WLS-FM also doesn't play anymore) ... "you wouldn't listen to me"!!! Too bad ... "historic" WLS is now just a boring wasteland of wasted on-air talent and broadcast legacy. (kk)   

>>>Is there a definitive answer if Billy Joel played on Remember Walking in the Sand? Seems as though he'd have been too young? I didn't know he produced Iron Butterfly or Vanilla Fudge. (Bill)  
>>>As far as I know, that whole Billy Joel / "Remember (Walking In The Sand)" was just a rumor ... unless he did the session when he was just 15 years old! (I know it's come up a few times now in FH). But if you read that Goldmine interview with Morton, who knows. (Then again he says that the piano player later turned out to be who he believes to be Billy Joel ... or so he's heard ... so it sounds like even Morton himself wasn't sure ... he was just going with the flow of what everybody else had been telling him. I seem to remember disproving that story quite some time ago. Anybody else able to weigh-in on this with any certainty???) Meanwhile, I've got to admit that that's quite a wide range of musical talent for Shadow Morton ... from The Shangri-Las to Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge?!?!? (kk)  
With regard to Billy Joel playing on "Remember Walking In The Sand", the man to ask is Don Casale ... he was there. He says yes. Twenty years ago I worked on a Nickelodeon show called "Hey Dude". Our sound guy, who I became friends with, was Jim Hilton. He told me that he produced The Iron Butterfly's album "In A Gadda Da Vida". Though the album bears his name as producer, he wasn't even in the studio. As it went, a young Don Casale was at the board and instructed the band to play something so he could set levels. The band played for 17 minutes and, unbeknownst to them, Don had pushed the record button. That is how the record came to be. The band wanted that 17 minute version to take up the entire side of the album but Hilton was agin it. After alot of foot stompin by the band Hilton relented.
That's how I understand it, and welcome any info to the contrary.
Alex Valdez
>>>Here's one you might enjoy. If you've been watching any of those Pawn Stars and/or Antique Road Show programs on the History Channel (where you find out just how much some of your "worthless" junk is really worth), then I think you'll love this brand new show starting on VH-1 Classic next week on February 21st. With a musical slant, it'll showcase rock and roll and other pop culture memorabilia, vintage albums and much, much more. Cleverly titled "For What It's Worth", this show is bound to be a hit with all the collectors on our list who have made places like eBay and Gemm regular stops during the course of their average week. More details here: Click here: For What It’s Worth To Premiere On VH1 Classic On February 21st – | VH1 Blog (kk)  

Hi Kent, 
CMT has also been filming a similar show, Rock Raiders, set to debut this year. 
Forgotten Hits contributor Fred Vail and I have met with Robert and Stephen at Rockology, a store they have set up near Music Row, but they haven't put us in the show, or bought any of our stuff, yet. Rock Raiders (w/t) is a 10-episode series that follows music memorabilia collectors Robert Reynolds and Stephen Shutts as they scour flea markets and garage sales across the country in search of prized possessions, such as a jukebox that once belonged to Johnny Cash and items connected to Hank Williams Jr., Cheap Trick and Nirvana. It is produced by Tom Forest and Thom Oliphant for Taillight TV, with Dinsmore and McCabe serving as executive producers for CMT. 
Ed Salamon 
On our ten o'clock news last night as well as our local paper this morning, it was announced that longtime radio and television personality Danny Williams passed away at the age of 85. Death was due to complications from a heart attack he had this past October.
Danny had been in this market since the very late 1940's. He was the main morning man for
WKY 930 AM radio for many years. The last few years of his on-air work were done at KOMA 1520 AM where he retired in 2008.
Kent, I mention this to you because even though probably the majority of our readers may not be familiar with Danny, there may be one or two who remember him from years ago if they were living here in the OKC area or close by where they could pick up the radio stations' signals.
Probably needless to say, this is not the same Danny Williams (singer) who had the song WHITE ON WHITE back in 1964.
Larry Neal
OK, so I'm guessing that it's ALSO not the same Danny Williams who used to sing at The Copa on "Make Room For Daddy" all those years ago either!!!
Sorry to hear of Danny's passing ... the deejays we grew up with still hold a very special place in our hearts ... they were SUCH a HUGE part of our growing up ... even if we never met them, they were still part of our lives.
Meanwhile, "White On White" is a GREAT "Today's Forgotten Hit" track ... so we've got that one to share today. A #9 Hit in 1964, this is one of the records I "inherited" from my old next door neighbor when she felt that she had "outgrown" her record collection. Obviously, her tastes had changed ... I remember "The Race Is On" by Jack Jones and "A Fool Never Learns" by Andy Williams ALSO being in that batch she just handed over to me one day. Obviously they made an impression on me ... I've since featured BOTH of these tracks in our "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature! (By the way, THIS Danny Williams ... the "White On White" guy ... passed away in 2005 ... and Danny Williams, the Copa Singer ... played so brilliantly by Danny Thomas for so many years ... passed away in 1991.) kk