‘…brilliant’ ‘…wonderful’ ‘…inspiring’ – why?

Well, our download week is over, not one of our 40 acts is to be found anywhere in the official chart, so we didn’t do it.

Or did we?

To look at the comments we were getting back from members and artists on the Facebook group and page, you’d think we’d actually won. The messages of thanks from people who’ve worked hard to support our crazily ambitious campaign are amazing to see – thank YOU all for being with us through it, for joining in with choosing the artists and for buying their tracks.

Right back at the beginning we said, “We’ll call a ‘success’ finding some good new music, a ‘win’ getting 2 or more songs in the charts, and anything above that is epic”. We think we can call this time a ‘success’ even if we didn’t get the big prize.

We’re delighted so many people have got the message and discovered artists they love through our project – numerous people have said they bought multiple songs last week that they’re glad to have in their playlist, and that they never would have heard otherwise. That’s the point, and we’re glad so many of you got it.

Things we did manage

We really did storm Amazon’s charts; Gabby Young was top of both their Rock and Folk charts for virtually the whole week (still topping Folk at the time of writing, in fact) and Steven Finn held the same position on their Blues chart.

On the Sunday of our download week we swamped their ‘Highest Risers’ and by the Saturday we had nineteen of the top 100 in ‘Indie & Alternative’ and ten of the top 100 overall.

As well as Gabby’s topping it, we also had positions 2,3,4 & 5 in Folk there.

On iTunes we had up to 4 tracks in the top 100 of their Singer-Songwriter chart through the week.

There might be other charts yet to be published that we popped up in – we couldn’t say this was what we were aiming for – but one of our followers said they felt we aimed for the stars and got the moon, and we’ll take that for the first attempt.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the journey – please stay in touch with the artists; our top 40 remain listed in full here and the whole list of bands who applied is still here. And if you like what you hear, buy their tracks and find out where they’re playing live, and go and support them!

There are a lot of things learned from this and we know we can do some things better. We’d be grateful for your feedback – both if you’ve found music you’ve enjoyed, and if you’d like to offer suggestions for next time – and are already grateful for all the support we’ve received from many quarters down the days, weeks and months, and in the wake of the project’s first end.

Thank you and stay in touch… we hope to be back…

Wes White
founder of Storm the Charts

4 Responses to “‘…brilliant’ ‘…wonderful’ ‘…inspiring’ – why?”

  1. Thanks to all our guest panelists and members of our core panel, to the bands and musicians themselves, to everyone who voted in the polls, to everyone who downloaded a song and told others about it, everyone who kept things active and shared ideas and fun on the Facebook walls, to everyone who gave for EDGE – you still can! – and to all the press, radio, TV and web media who did what they could to spread the news. The full ‘special thanks’ list would be too long to risk causing offence by leaving others out, but I’d like to single out five of many people who went far beyond the call of duty – Helen Addis (in part to stand for too many Facebookers to list), who tirelessly provided support and encouragement there, including plugging for EDGE; Gillian Barclay of the Kiehl’s store event who provided funding for the website and unstinting support; Andrew Kay who spent many hours working on our website for no material reward and without asking for thanks, and always with an eye to fairness, Tom Hunter who made our video – far better than the instructions I sent ever imagined! – and Kate Wellham who’s worked so hard for this she basically became my unofficial deputy without asking for it. As already said, too many others to name – both you and I know who you are.

  2. Well done on the hard work and effort in this. It was a well organised campaign and it’s a shame that the 40 wasn’t breached, however while it was a brilliant idea I don’t think it’s ever going to succeed – meaning getting 40 tracks into the top 40. It’s too large a number. Let’s face it a large portion of fans are going to be able to shell out for 40 tracks and that’s what it needs. The reason the ‘Rage Against the Machine’ campaign worked, one of the reasons anyway, is that people only had to download 1 track. Getting one unknown track to No.1 would be a more achievable challenge, but would disappoint a lot of bands/artists and would be even more of a headache to whittle down to the list. Of course you have the problem whenever a ‘get so & so in the charts’ campaign is launched you have the law of diminishing returns, i.e. people get a bit fatigued with these type of campaigns and people naturally start thinking “been there done that”. No doubt they’ll be a campaign this year to have an alternative christmas no.1. Anyway, I know I sound a bit negative but I guess I’m being realistic. I do think it’s a great idea and even if you try again and it fails again it’s still achieved the goal of getting people to hear a lot of new bands.
    On a final note, I’d say have less of a panel vote and more public votes if you do it a second time. Perhaps people are less inclined to buy stuff they haven’t voted on. I thought the whole point was that it was a people’s challenge to get unknown stuff in the charts, not picked my some ‘tastemakers’ in the music biz.
    Good luck with the next one anyway!

  3. All sensible points Rob. Collecting lots of views – many people seem to want us to do this again but with fewer bands. I must admit that doesn’t really appeal to me (fewer bands) although I do understand the pragmatism. There are strong arguments against it too – you have fewer resources with fewer bands, and altogether fewer people brought to the project by them specifically.

    I think one option (which was suggested early on this time by John Beresford) might be to present the list in such a way that it gives people who want it the chance to buy the bands who are already selling most first. So if you just want the thing to work, and you only want to buy two or three tracks, you can know you’re doing that.

    I think some people are being a bit unfair about the panelists, although, one the main points of it was to make sure there was more diversity in the final list – that did happen (nothing chosen by the public sounded like Heavy Load or Steveless or AC&Terra or Random Connection Quest or Shrag….) – but maybe not quite to the extent that was intended, so we need to consider how both selection processes work in future. There is also a proportion of people who don’t want a public vote at all!

    Also I have to say that I’m very grateful to all the panelists who all put in their own time for nothing to listen to the tracks and support the project. I’m quite sure it helped us get some of the press and media attention that we did as they were mentioned in many of the reports.

    None of these are the main things I think we did wrong though…

  4. Special Agent Dale Cooper Says:

    I hope there will be a next time. I liked the mix of public and panel voting and agree it did lead to diversity. I also support the big idea of 40, though accept there are strong arguments for concentrating on fewer songs. We could do with more interaction from people who supported the campaign via social networking but have hardly burst into print here on the STC chart. If there is to be a second attempt, much more needs to be driven by the dedicated site.

    It would also be nice if each of the acts in the 40 left a wee note here to say what they got out of it and not least to thank Wes and his crew.

    I for one thank them all immensely. One of the joys of STC is that it is not driven by vested interests, in so far as this is possible, but by sheer love of music. And you can’t say that very often.

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