Big Champagne Redefines The Billboard Chart For Modern Era

Over at Wired.com, writer Eliot Van Buskirk’s “Inside Big Champagne’s Music Panopticon” provides an in-depth look at Big Champagne’s new dashboard-style music data analysis service. Now anyone who’s been paying attention to digital music news over the past few years should be familiar with the company’s CEO Eric Garland. Dude is the go-to guy when writers need a quote on anything related to music and the internet, which, let’s face it, is practically every day now. There’s also a sizeable chunk of Steve Knopper’s Appetite for Self Destruction dedicated to explaining how Big Champagne came about. Pretty interesting stuff.

To summarize, Big Champagne offers a media tracking service. And through that service, which a company pays a monthly fee for, they’re provided access to data about who’s downloading what songs and videos, and where that activity is happening online. Beyond that, the data gets very specific, in terms of allowing the company to see filesharing data for specific markets.

Data like this is of huge importance because it let’s a company know which band is performing well in which area, rather than having to rely on something like radio charts, a big game of back room handslaps that hasn’t changed in 50 years. Online “buzz” is arguably a bigger indicator of where people’s attention is directed. There are acts with songs on the radio right now, but who have no online buzz, who wouldn’t be able to sell out a local coffee shop.

Big Champagne also provides video charts as well, monitoring big sites like Yahoo and Youtube, as well as smaller ones.

Point being, all this data is coming from many different sources, and it’s being tracked in real time. My question is, just how wide of a net is being cast by this service. According to the article, filesharing networks are included in what’s being tracked. Which ones? And are simple webhosting services like Zshare and Rapidshare being monitored as well. These sites are like filesharing central, the bulk of new music acquisition is taking place there. By the time these songs make it to Yahoo, AOL or any of these big media companies, a lot of the key online traction for a tune has already taken place. Still, a useful service nonetheless. And while a lot of the data their providing is accessible through each separate network (Yahoo, Youtube, etc), having it all in one place, and being able to grasp it in the context of pie charts and graphs is infinitely more valuable. I wish I had 2k a month just to check it out.

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