Number one by the pallet

Bernard Zuel has an interesting discussion of the role of charts in popular music today.

Just to further confuse the picture, keep in mind that platinum and gold awards are wonky measures as they are record-company driven, based on what the record company sent to or sold in to stores, whether they've sold to the public or not, while the chart positions represent actual sales.

He neglects to mention that these actual sales are from a sample of stores and doesn't include some of the most popular retailers. Perhaps it's not surprising, I heard a story from Stuart Coupe once that a journalist attempted to write an expose of how the ARIA charts are compiled and was met with closed doors. It would be a shame if this happened to Zuel.

Another good quote that explains a little of the creative accounting practices in the entertainment industry:

ARIA's chief executive, Stephen Peach, told the Herald five years ago: "If it sits on the retailer's shelf for six months, it's still a sale as far as the record company is concerned."