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Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 07/26/2011

Who’s on top in music? It’s gotten hard to say

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists reached the top of the Billboard 200 charts, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In the world of Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and declining album sales, how do we measure the popularity of pop music? Just because bands such as the Decemberists and Cake top the Billboard 200 albums chart, does that mean they are the biggest names in music?

“Album sales as representative of the success of artists is a failing metric,” says Eric Garland, chief executive of Big Champagne, a media marketing company that has aimed to track music’s popularity in the digital age for more than a decade. “It no longer adequately explains or offers real insight into the market dynamics.”

Chris Richards digs deep into the new world of charting in today’s paper. If you didn’t pick up a copy and read the A1 story, read it here.

By Click Track  |  12:25 PM ET, 07/26/2011

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