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The iTunes World & BBC Asian Network Charts – We Ask The Artists/Media!

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Is the number one spot on the iTunes world chart and the Official BBC Asian Network chart really the be all and end all of what an artist wants to achieve? Is it an accurate measurement of success? We put this question and more to artists and labels and see how they responded: (Features Tigerstyle, Dipps Bhamrah, DJ Sanj, Jazzy B, PBN, AMX, Manni Sandhu, Kaos Productions, DJ Vips (VIP Records), DJ Dips, Deepa Virdee (Asian Star FM)


Is the number one spot on the iTunes world chart and the Official BBC Asian Network chart really the be all and end all of what an artist wants to achieve? Is it an accurate measurement of success? We put this question and more to artists and labels and see how they responded:

Pops – Tigerstyle: It’s no way an accurate measure of anything but an inflated ego. The number of ‘nobodies’ and shit songs who hit number 1 is beyond a joke.

DJ Sanj: It’s just one of the many boxes you want to have ticked off.

Jazzy B: Well I think everyone wants to be successful in their game, so yes it does feel good when you’ve worked so hard on something with your heart.

Laki Hayer – Kaos Productions:
Number one on any chart is strange. Tracks are likely to go number one if there is enough awareness of its release. The initial surge is always there. It is however a measure of sales and not success. There are songs that have been in the charts for months and never got a number one but overall they can be classed as bigger tracks rather than a song that hits number one and completely disappears after one week. To be quite frank, you can’t really trust charts these days. There are plenty of people out there with money who want to dance on T.V. and become a ‘star’. Those people have no issue with buying their own songs to get their moment of fame. That as a result makes it an INACCURATE measure of any type!

For us we don’t try and ‘measure success’. There are so many different types of Panjabi music these days that it feels almost as if they are different genres. Success will be different depending on the type you make. The best visual for us to know we are on the right track is when we read each and every big up from a fan on Facebook or Twitter. To walk into a wedding where no one knows you and people request your song or if the DJ plays it of his own back. That is true success because people are enjoying your music and that is the real point of being an artist. They are appreciating the art of your creation.

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DJ Vips – VIP Records:

I don’t think the no1 spot on iTunes world chart is the be all and end all, but I think it is important to a degree. Sales on iTunes are so low that all decent tracks will make that position for a day or so. However only quality, or popular track can sustain that position over longer periods. I think the BBC Asian Network chart is more important as this measures the sales for a whole week on iTunes. Artists need to consider lots of things not just the chart. Tracks come in and out of charts so quick and can easily be missed, all other types of promotion on all radio stations are as important.

On another point the charts do give new artists a platform, and for the artists that don’t get any response from the BBC Asian Network, if they have success on the charts leave no choice for the BBC to reconsider their support for that track. As a record label before the charts we had very few no1’s (one I think) tracks on the Asian Network as they were decided by BBC staff themselves and established artists were always given preference. Since the charts we have had numerous no1’s. A good example is the Bups Saggu track pre charts no way would this have beaten the other track from a more established artist on the BBC Asian Network.

AMX Productions:
Any chart that can be manipulated is worthless in my opinion, but unfortunately our industry is constructed in such a way that they are both being seen as the pinnacle of success. The BBC chart in particular is a harsh one as it can potentially dictate how many people even get to hear quality music in the first place… Labels and artists who are constantly bombarding social feeds with the amount of views they have on YouTube / chart positions rather than the song itself clearly have deep pockets to buy views or their tongue in the right arse for radio.

DJ Dips:
Having a no.1 on iTunes is a nice feeling but can no way prove you’re successful, for me being successful is; still being here in 10 years time and providing fans with hits and having the respect of artists around me. I believe a chart would be a lot more relevant if it was based on albums rather than singles, anyone can make a track a hit but to constantly do it on an album is another ball game all together, no1 can become a star overnight and i think to be truly successful you need to provide hits over a number of years and albums.

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Glad you asked this question. I and fellow artists have had the same conversation over the last few weeks. Being Number 1 in iTunes carries no weight at all in this day and age. I think an accurate measurement of success is determined by a number of factors including sales figures, chart position, YouTube views and the amount of global recognition a song has not just here in UK. I think an artist’s success can also be measured via his/her fan base. After all that is what makes and breaks every artist.

Manni Sandhu:
It’s really complicated. It can be seen as a type of measurement of success as it reflects who is popular amongst Bhangra listeners; however, if people were to see the actual figures it takes to get to No.1 I think they would be very surprised. It is definitely not an accurate measurement of success because it is so easy for people to buy their own songs and keep them at the top of the charts. This is very unfair to new, genuine talent that come through as they get pushed to the side, while artists that purchase their own tracks get all the limelight. At the same time, you have to look at the brighter picture. If your track is in the iTunes world chart, then you make it on radio, which means you can earn money from royalties (providing you’ve got the right deal).

If the sales that come in from iTunes were five or six times what they are now, I would definitely be more interested in them, but at the moment it’s just too small and there’s really not enough money to be made for both the label and artist to survive.

Deepa Virdee (Asian Star)
No it’s not an accurate measure of success. The masses have a varying preference with regard to whether to buy a CD or download music legally or illegally. Some people opt to buy a CD as it looks professionally packaged with interesting liner notes, photos, track listings, etc…while others prefer to download their music from various sources as it’s fast and convenient. This will obviously make a big impact on the iTunes chart position.

However over the last few years’ iTunes and its charts have become ever-more important as the vast majority of single/album sales in the UK now happen via the site. I suppose for the artists the iTunes charts are really important for their credibility to see where they stand and who their competitors are. This is why they post pictures on social network sites when their track reaches into the top 5 position.

Having said this, the iTunes chart is also important in terms of interest as the public sees ‘I’m number one’ so they think ‘perhaps I should listen to it’. Depending on how much you forward promote your release would make a significant impact on the iTunes charts. Fans are substantially more likely to support an artist they like and often download their tracks. Some tracks get a huge exposure prior to the release date via TV/radio and social network sites, and some tracks lack major promotion. You must promote your music just like you have to promote yourself everywhere else otherwise it won’t get recognised.

There is some really bad music out there which makes it into the charts as they are friends with people in the media. Certain media prefer to give more attention to their favourite artists, by giving more plugs more exclusives more airplay etc, and ignore the other new releases. You will often find radio presenters are guilty of this as they have flexibility of their playlist.

So in a Nutshell No, I don’t think the No1 spot is important. Music should do the talking, but some artists don’t get the credit they deserve. But then again most music out there is Ghost Produced…

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Dipps Bhamrah:

The download chart has been a positive influence in the main on the world of Bhangra music. It’s given, for the first time since the 80’s, the chance for artists to truly measure their success alongside their peers. It has also given the opportunity to artists to assess their fan base and encourage them to support by legally downloading, obtaining high spots in the charts and making the fans feel part of the success of their favourite acts. That can only be a positive.

However, you ask the question that relating to chart positions ‘is that an accurate measurement of success’ and I would say … kind of. Yes, I may well have splinters on my bum for sitting on the fence but there a couple of things to consider. Firstly, the download charts are the only official way of measuring legal sales. Many may have their views and whatever they may be, facts are fact and those figures make up the sales based download chart.

Then you ask yourself the questions from a TV/Radio airplay, DJ, dance-floor point of view on what tracks are big or successful. Back in 2010 Panjabi MC’s ‘Moorni’ never reached Number 1 on the official download chart. It was the dominant track on dance floors in 2011 and still is requested in 2012 at every gig. There are more examples for this scenario. Have I had that kind of response from some of the tracks that have had number 1 success in the charts? No.

Being Number in any walk of life is a big deal and we all strive to be on top of our line of works. The chart provides that platform and allows for positive competition. But success and achievements is a personal thing for an artist and I guess they would have to measure it in one of two ways and continue to believe in their philosophy. I’ll leave you with these two questions for artists to think about.

Is YOUR success and long term place in music history come from the continuous monitoring of iTunes world chart and the official chart show on Saturday afternoons based of sales between all artists?

Or is YOUR success the unanimous worldwide response to a piece of music which almost all radio stations, DJ’s and Bhangra music fan enjoy hearing even if it’s never been Number 1?

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Music Editor at Chakdey.Com who has lots to say about everything!

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