Slacker will start offering a weekly top 40 chart today, joining the likes of Spotify, Stitcher and Twitter Music. Unlike those services however, the list isn't necessarily filled with the most popular tracks. Instead, it's comprised of what's deemed as the 40 "most engaging tracks" in that particular week. Compiled using an algorithm the company calls the "Engagement Quotient," each song is dealt an "EQ" score of one to 100 based on a number of data points. We list what those criteria are after the break, along with quotes from a brief talk with Jack Isquith, Slacker's senior VP of content programming and strategic development.
The EQ score of any given track is based on seven factors: the number of times someone starts playing it, if it was listened to in its entirety, how many "hearts" it has, how often it's shared on various social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and email, how often it's skipped before completion, the number of times a person changes the station mid-song and how often that song is skipped or banned from playing again. Aside from the main Top 40 chart, Slacker will also provide top 40 lists for six genres: Pop, Country, Rock, Hip Hop/R&B, Alternative/Indie and Electronic/Dance.
Slacker's popularity offers "millions of bits of data" to cull from, according to Jack Isquith, senior VP of content programming and strategic development. He told us they initially took a look at how terrestrial radio did top 40 charts and were disheartened by its old-fashioned methods. "They do phone research -- they actually play the hook of a song over the phone and ask the person on the other end if they like it... there's also a portable "people meter," which is a device they strap on to you that recognizes the music you're exposed in day-to-day life, like in the mall or a doctor's waiting room."
He feels that Slacker's EQ method reveals songs with active involvement rather than passive. "Traditional charts based on the idea of spins, streams and sales is incomplete. We felt it was more important to focus on engagement as the metric." Seeing as the RIAA recently started counting online streams in its Gold and Platinum Digital Single Awards, he could be on to something. Feel free to check the press release below or head to the source to check out this week's top 40 list yourself.
TOP 40 CHARTS WERE DESIGNED FOR YOUR MOM;
THE NEW SLACKER EQ SCORE MEASURES WHAT MUSIC MEANS TODAY
Weekly Slacker EQ Score Provides Unique Insight into Audience Engagement
Based on Real-Time Activity and Data from Millions of Listeners
SAN DIEGO, CALIF – JUNE 6, 2013 – Slacker, the world's most complete music service, is bringing the top 40 charts into the digital age with the Slacker EQ score. In a world where access to music is quickly trumping ownership, the Slacker EQ is the most accurate reflection of a song's trending popularity and listener engagement in today's world of streaming music. Slacker EQ scores will be released every Thursday, tracking the 40 most engaging tracks across multiple genres from the previous week, and will be available at blog.slacker.com/EQ.
A number from one to 100, the Slacker EQ score measures hundreds of millions of weekly data points to show how deeply users are engaging with a particular song, based on specific positive and negative actions, including:
· Starts – the number of times a song was started on the Slacker service
· Completes – the number of times a song was listened to in its entirety
· Hearts – the number of times a user "hearts" a track, requesting to hear it more frequently
· Shares – the number of times a user shares a track via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest or email
· Skips – the number of times a song is skipped before reaching completion
· Changes – the number of times a user changes the station when a song plays
· Bans – the number of times a song or artist is banned from playing again
"The majority of people stream music and old charting methods capture sales or basic streams which only tell a fraction of the story," said Jack Isquith, Slacker's senior vice president of content programming and strategic development. "As access to music trumps ownership for consumers, engagement quickly becomes the most important metric for what's hot and trending. Slacker EQ provides fans, artists and labels a real-time understanding of not only what consumers are listening to, but how they're interacting with music, and how their actions change over time."
Do people choose to listen to the same songs dominating terrestrial radio airtime? Does an appearance on Saturday Night Live increase engagement with an artist? Does an artist's exploits in the tabloids impact people's affinity for a track? These are trends the Slacker EQ can help the industry decipher. It will rank the 40 most engaging songs across the Slacker service each week, alongside top 40 lists based on engagement for six genres, including Pop, Rock, Country, Hip Hop/R&B, Alternative/Indie and Electronic/Dance.
Slacker has also launched a station that counts down the 40 most engaging songs every week, available at: http://www.slacker.com/station/the-slacker-top-40
Only Slacker could deliver a metric as thorough as EQ. The most complete music service on Earth offers listeners the most options for interacting with music, including streaming radio and/or on-demand access to a massive library of more than 13 million songs, with new tracks added daily, often long before other services. A music guide and fine-tuning tools let listeners easily discover new music or add news, sports and talk content from ABC and ESPN. Slacker's team of expert music curators also constantly update Slacker's more than 200 genre and specialty stations so the music is always new, fresh and surprising.
Slacker is also the only digital music service that has billing and distribution deals with every major North American wireless provider, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. In addition, Slacker is available in vehicles produced by major automotive manufacturers including Ford, GM, Chrysler Group, Acura, Honda, Scion, Subaru and Tesla.