Home Coldplay Are to Last.fm, as Beatles Were to Billboard

Coldplay Are to Last.fm, as Beatles Were to Billboard

Leading online music app last.fm has released its most popular songs, albums and artists of 2008. The rankings come from last.fm’s database, based on number of listeners. The music had to be released in 2008 to qualify for the charts.

The Top 10 tracks is absolutely dominated by Coldplay’s Viva la Vida, with 6 songs – including numbers 1 and 2. The title track was number 1, with more than three million listens in about 6 months. Coldplay also features at 5, 6, 8 and 9. This is reminiscent of the dominance of the Billboard singles chart the Beatles enjoyed in April 1964!

MGMT also had multiple tracks in the top 10, with entries at numbers 3, 4 and 10. The New York synthpop group also took the number 1 slot in the Top Artists category, but only because Coldplay didn’t qualify – it’s limited to artists who released their debut album this year. MGMT’s album “Oracular Spectacular” gained it over 398,000 Last.fm fans.

The only other artist to make the top 10 tracks was Katy Perry at number 7 with ‘I kissed a girl’.

Guess what’s the number 1 album? Coldplay’s Viva la Vida. Coldplay did have an impressive online launch for that much-anticipated album, which certainly helped. Indeed the album was also the biggest selling iTunes album download of 2008.

These charts, although depressingly dominated by a few bands, show that last.fm is a data generating machine. Its Scrobbler technology tracks what users listen to on a variety of media players – such as iTunes, Songbird, Hype Machine, Blip.fm. It tracks data at the rate of about 650 songs per second, from a community of over 25 million users worldwide according to the analytics firm Omniture. Last.fm claims this is the largest global database of online music behaviour.

Head of The Long Tail Wins Again

Last.fm says it currently has 43 million distinct pieces of music from more than 12 million artists in its database. Of course, even with such a ‘long tail’ of music data, clearly the Coldplays of this world will continue to dominate. It’s not just Coldplay either, Radiohead probably would’ve been just as successful in 2007. According to one digger, last year “Radiohead would have been the entire top 10 tracks…”. We can’t verify that claim, but it sounds all too plausible given the 2008 data.

Although it’s disappointing that mainstream artists can dominate charts even on the Internet, the beauty of online music services is that users can create their own Top 10’s too. Thousands of those won’t include Coldplay (including this author’s!).

The complete “Best of 2008” lists from last.fm:

Best Artist (artists who have released their debut album this year)

1. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

2. The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing

3. Sara Bareilles – Little Voice

4. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

5. Katy Perry – One Of The Boys

6. The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement

7. Foals – Antidotes

8. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

9. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into

10. Santogold – Santogold

Best Album

1. Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

2. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

3. Portishead – Third

4. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV

5. The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing

6. The Kooks – Konk

7. Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs

8. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark

9. Jack Johnson – Sleep Through The Static

10. Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Best Track

1. Coldplay – Viva La Vida

2. Coldplay – Violet Hill

3. MGMT – Time To Pretend

4. MGMT – Electric Feel

5. Coldplay – Life In Technicolour

6. Coldplay – Cemeteries of London

7. Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl

8. Coldplay – 42

9. Coldplay – Strawberry Swing

10. MGMT – Kids

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