Chart Watch Extra: Billboard’s Year-End Charts
If you like charts, Billboard's year-end issue is Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one. The issue contains almost 300 year-end charts. More than 100 are available now to the general public at Billboard.com. More than 440 (!) are listed at billboard.biz/charts. (That might be too much even for me.)
And what do we learn from this blizzard of information? A lot, though some of it confirms the obvious. You will not be shocked to learn that Adele's 21 was the year's best-selling album or that "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra was the year's top single. But did you know that that they were also #1 for the year in Canada? Or that "Somebody…" was also the year's #1 Alternative Song? Details like that give the issue its texture.
21 is the first album to finish #1 on the year-end recaps two years running since Michael Jackson's Thriller in 1983 and 1984. (Actually, the phrase "year-end" is a misnomer. The chart year extends from the Billboard issue dated Dec. 3, 2011 through the issue dated Nov. 24, 2012.)
You also won't be surprised that female artists dominated the year. Adele, Rihanna and Taylor Swift, in that order, were the year's top three artists according to a weighted formula which measures album sales, track download sales, radio airplay, streaming data, Billboard Boxscore touring revenue, Social 50 chart activity and ringtone sales. Here's the rest of the top 10: Drake, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, LMFAO and One Direction.
Counting up the number of charts on which an artist is #1 is a crude measurement, because some charts (Hot 100 Songs, let's say) are very important and some (Regional Mexican Songs Artist, for example) are less so. But let's do it anyway and see what we get. Adele heads nine of the 100+ year-end charts that are posted on Billboard.com, followed by Drake and Mumford & Sons, with eight each. Next in line are Gotye, with six; LMFAO and Latin artist Romeo Santos, with four each; and the Black Keys, Taylor Swift and Latin artist Don Omar, with three each.
Justin Bieber is #1 on the Social 50 chart, which measures new media buzz-worthiness. Here's the rest of the top 10: Adele, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, One Direction, Shakira, Nicki Minaj and Skrillex. (Next Big Sound, which provides this list to Billboard, tracks social activity on such sites as YouTube, Vevo, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, SoundCloud, Instagram and Wikipedia.)
Whitney Houston, who died on Feb. 11, is the year's top-selling catalog album artist, edging out Adele, whose 2008 album 19 was the year's top catalog album. The rest of the top 10 catalog album artists are Taylor Swift, Eminem, the Black Keys, Lady Antebellum, Florence + the Machine, Guns N' Roses, Zac Brown Band and Elvis Presley. Presley's appearance in the top 10 is noteworthy. He died in 1977.