Music by Numbers

Why does a song become a hit?  What mix of timing and competition lands one artist’s work at the top of the charts while another’s barely registers?

Academic Charts Online is a powerful new tool for researching the secrets of popular music.  Based on more than 60 years of Billboard data, ACO allows the user to compare music charts from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia, and Mexico.

Users can search by artist, title, album, date, and more.  Different tracks can be compared graphically to see what was a one-time fad and what had true staying power.  Artists’ recording careers can be considered at a single glance.

Although much of the information contained in this resource is available through other means on the web, the added features of Academic Charts Online makes it particularly well suited to research and study.  Copyright-cleared musical snippets are included with many of the song entries, and a search of the database can then send the user into the scholarly discussion of a particular artist or song by searching the Cambridge University Press journal “Popular Music.”

Although ACO has only just become available, it promises to revolutionize the way we research, understand, and evaluate popular music!