Recently CMJ stopped publishing college radio charts, and there is some confusion about what’s going on, and what chart to report to or to read. Also, our brief arrangement with another website to publish our chart ended a couple of weeks ago. Amongst these changes we wanted to clarify our position, intent and values, and answer some questions.
Playlist management service
Playlist management is what we do, what we know, and will remain our business focus.
We provide a complete package including spin logging, automation hook-up, metadata push, reporting, web-integration, real-time playlists for listeners, and so on. You also get our first-class support! We take pride in this and do everything we can to help.
We’ve been logging playlists since 2003 and operating Spinitron commercially for eight years. Over 200 client stations use Spinitron and we have a gratifying growth rate. The great new features we’re developing (see below) come online soon.
Spinitron v2 is in beta test at present and will be ready for mainstream use soon. It is an entirely new app incorporating everything Spinitron does today but more conveniently and with many major new features.
Among other things it has traffic management, program episodes, non-music programming, a new API and web integration tools, powerful user management, and it supports arbitrarily complex calendar scheduling. v2 also allows individual DJs unaffiliated with a station to use Spinitron.
Music data versus information
Spinitron v2 involved a complete rewrite of our software. One motive was to modernize our technology to allow us to build new features faster. But another was to restructure the database to support analytics on the aggregate flow of spins from all the stations using Spinitron.
Data is a collection of raw facts (spins in our case) that may be analyzed to find information. Certain spins may be interesting in themselves but together they can show patterns of more significance. But significance is subjective. Whether or not some information is significant depends on the question you are asking, and everybody’s question is different.
So our plan in Spinitron v2 is to provide tools that allow users to pose their own questions, thus turning raw data into useful information. We will provide tools that analyze the real-time spins flowing through the database.
People are interested in charts but they can be misleading depending the information you really need and the details of how the chart was produced. For example, some people liked CMJ’s weightings and methods while other hated it. Some people like Spinitron’s “each spin is equal” approach and others argue that spins at some stations mean more than those at others. There is no one size fits all.
Spinitron’s weekly chart is derived from all the spins of stations using Spinitron counted from Friday through Thursday and published on Monday. There are no weightings, we simply add up how many spins each release had. The online listing allows you to see every spin counted in each chart entry and to follow each spin through to its full playlist. We strive for complete transparency!
Since CMJ stopped publishing their charts, some stations asked if they could report their chart to Spinitron. They want to submit their Top-Whatever chart - just like they did at CMJ - for us to incorporate that into Spinitron Top 100. We cannot do that. We need each spin during the week to count the chart fairly. If a station has some other playlist management system then we can still incorporate their spins into the chart if they provide the data either via real-time API or bulk transfer. We want to maintain accountability and provide verifiable data!
It’s easy to overestimate the meaning of a chart. It is a rather blunt answer to a generic question. We will continue to produce the Spinitron Top 100 but our focus remains the playlist management service and we are moving towards providing tools that allow people to analyze the spin data in ways that make sense to them, to answer their own questions. In our vision, everyone should be able to make their own chart.