The Top 25: How its Calculated

The work that goes into bringing you the Top 25 each week is more than just fan voting. It covers a significant portion of it which is what makes your participation so important for your favorite band or artist. When I first began it as a Top 10 I wanted listeners to take part, and make sure that their voices were being heard.

Like so many other things I wasnt happy with some of the charts others were presenting. One station on a week to week had an artist one week at #5 than the following week they weren’t on their Top 25 and two weeks later they suddenly appeared at #4. I have no idea how that one is put together.

Another national chart that I at one time took part in I discovered was operated by someone who also promotes Indie Artists. As part of his package he sells he promises to work to get you on the charts. On this particular Top 50 they averaged 40% of the songs on the chart were artists he was promoting. There was no transparency despite the fact hundreds of us submitted our charts that were than used to compile the main list.

So I created mine in such way that I can explain it and if you desire show you my spreadsheet that has all my built-in calculators etc. Every week i sit down and add the voting results in to start in a process that usually takes an hour to 90 minutes to complete.

Your voting accounts for 80 percent of the total in the points process. Lets begin with if your favorite band gets 500 votes they don’t get 500 points. In my system points are based on finishing position.

Artists that are on the chart already are assigned points in the same manner, the higher they are on the list the higher the point value. This is done to ensure consistency week to week. Without this someone could get the most votes in their first week of voting and theoretically be able to start at the number 1 position.

These points are totaled and then 80% of that total is taken. This represents the fan portion of the system, as voting does account for all positions. At this point the station portion comes into play. When I say station I of course mean myself though I am looking to hire and expand. The 20% that the station points account for include a number of items that are taken into account.

At this point I will say that I wont tell you all of them so that people don’t have the opportunity to manipulate what I am looking at. I consider 5 different items and then add my 20% to the other total.

The final numbers that come out represents when sorted highest to lowest the next Top 25. You will see the greatest movement when fans vote big one week but not the next for a song. But that is why it is in the hands of the fans. There are built-in safeguards to the voting and you can vote once a day for your favorite artist.

The biggest item in all of this is fairness and transparency. If everyone plays fair it works great. When people figure a way around the system, than we have to decide whether to.just eliminate votes or even disqualify an artist in a worst case scenario. Thankfully in the history of the chart I’ve never had to make that decision. That is because Indie music fans are the best.

I want to add that I don’t mind sharing almost everything I do.  I have shared with other radio stations because in my mind the end result is that it helps promote Independent artists.  But some things are worth protecting.  My basic design I have explained but I won’t show it in detail.  The bottom line is while I want to see artists get as much exposure as possible, the more listeners I have the better, so to help other stations too much would also harm myself and my stations.  Lets call my weekly calculations a proprietary piece of work. 

Any questions don’t hesitate to ask.


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