Welcome to the definitive guide to understanding Music industry


Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by this fresh new website. In order to start in the best possible way, let me introduce myself and what’s coming in this new site.

I’m Guillaume Vieira, a french, Paris-based, computer science engineer working as a freelance project manager for large worldwide companies. I turned 30 recently and have been fascinated by music itself and its industry as a whole for about half of those years.  While all my studies have been done as an amateur during my free time, this work got noticed and referred by many huge media brands including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Hits Daily Double, New Yorker magazine and french TV channel M6.

The music industry refers to record sales of all our much loved artists. As most of this information is confidential, it turns out to be a monster jigsaw nearly impossible to solve. Understanding the Music industry consists of three main steps:

  1. Collecting raw data
  2. Interpreting technically collected values
  3. Understanding social meaning of information

The first step not only requires going over hundreds of sources, in which you will read incorrect data more often than not. Specialized forums can help getting into step 2. but this will enable only scraping the surface of the subject. The last step is not covered at all on the internet.

Chartmasters.org aims to answer both 2. and 3. areas, providing interpreted information and spotting lights in the correct direction to understand this data properly. You will not find out another unexplicit piece of the music industry jigsaw here, but instead a complete and clear picture of the whole painting.

To fulfill this target, Chartmasters.org will be publishing in-depth analysis related to the music industry as well as running several series focusing on specific subjects. The first series is underway: An Odyssey into France’s best selling albums ever.

All comments of every nature, including negative ones, are more than welcome on this website. In addition to comments, you can also provide raw data or request information by using the email address contact@chartmasters.org. To make sure you won’t miss newly published content, you can also follow us on Twitter @chartmastersorg.

2 thoughts on “Welcome to the definitive guide to understanding Music industry”

  1. I see you compile singles sales at a ratio of 3 singles = 1 album, digital singles at 10 singles=1 album, etc…
    I’m wondering, do you rate double albums at 1 album=2 albums?
    How about boxed sets (3 or 4 discs)?

    Double DVD’s?

    It would reason that with the more expensive double album/DVD, they should have a heavier weighted value.

    Also, some artists (New artists or artists that aren’t AAA artists) albums cost less for an album than a AAA artist
    Example : Lorde’s first album may have been $7 while the Beatles St. Pepper cost $15 to this day.

    I know that would be more digging, but might be worth looking into.

    Love your blog by the way,

    1. Hi Nathan!

      I have an atypical position in regards to multi-discs sets.

      If an album is a double album, say The White Album or The Wall, then it is counted as 1 album only since it is the same creator of value, the same product that consumers are purchasing. Instead, Early Days / Latter Days by Led Zeppelin count as 2 as you buy two products, Early Days and Latter Days and has such, the sale of that package cannibalize sales of both original albums which means in a CSPC logic they must count as 2. albums

      Extending that logic, if an artist releases a box set of outtakes or so, like Bob Dylan bootlegs or Michael Jackson’s The Ultimate Collection, it counts as 1 product. Then, sales of Beatles’ Mono and Stereo boxes have been assigned to each and every album they contain.

      A very telling case is Michael Jackson’s HIStory. This album will count as 2 – the studio album and the compilation. The studio album sold on his own as shown by the chart run up and downs with the release of all singles. At the same time, the presence of the compilation damaged strongly catalog sales of Bad, Thriller etc. So while it was 1 package only, consumers purchased 2 distinct products, one of them that had its value created on previous albums, so this must be taken into account while establishing the popularity of those LPs.

      It may sound complex but when the approach is understood, when we get the ‘value creator’ vision, most cases seem fairly obvious to sort!

      As for the price, I did the choice to not consider it due to the huge changes of prices depending on the country, period, promotion campaigns etc. Just think about the Black Friday, it would be impossible to track.

      Apart from the technical complexity, in terms of function I don’t think the price is relevant to gauge the popularity of an artist. In fact, labels set prices of artists depending on the income of the main target audience. The Beatles main audience is made of white, 40+ years old persons from rich English-speaking countries. Lorde is a new act, popular among teenagers that have much less money to put into records. Monster reissues of albums like Sgt Pepper’s highlight this situation very well. Thus that’s why I consider the price gap to be more relevant of the audience income rather than the audience size, while the CSPC indicator aims to define the latter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *