Machine Shop: Hype Machine Team Blog

Popular Charts, now with Science!

The Popular page is the focus of much attention, and we work to keep it dynamic, eclectic, and fair – driven by a combination of blogging and our site usage.  It employs a different level of filtering than our Most Blogged Artists chart, which is the pure representation of the most-posted artists in the given week.

Ever since our update in December where we started merging blog mentions of individual tracks together, we’ve been working on a new Popular page algorithm.  We’ve made some changes, and I wanted to share with you how the new page works.

For a track to be eligible for being on the Popular page, it must have been blogged in the past 3 days, and received some amount of new favorites.  The tracks are placed on the Popular page in order of how many new favorites they are getting.  To prevent a track from staying on top of the chart by being constantly reblogged and favorited (because it’s already number one), there is a time limit of 3 days for its presence.  Once the 3 days pass, the track can’t enter the Popular page for at least two weeks, so that the charts remain fresh.

We’ve also hidden the favorite numbers from the Popular page, because of their “distracting” nature when it comes to helping people interpret culture (especially numbers that no longer represent the reason why a track is in its position on the chart).  The favorite counts for a track are now cumulative for its entire existence in the blogosphere, from the first post to the most recent, but old favorites are not counted in the Popular chart.  You can still see the totals if you click on the track name, of course.

What does matter though, is the rate of new favorites, and we’ve added a small bar display that expands to a larger graph of favoriting activity during the past week.  Typically, the spikes in this graph help explain a track’s position in the chart.

We made the page to be a useful and fun for everyone; artists, bloggers, music fans, and industry pros.

What do you think?  What would you like to see?

Album Premieres on Hype Machine

UPDATE June, 2013: The album premieres have received an amazing overhaul, more info in a newer post here.

Since the fall of 2010, we’ve been running album premieres on Hype Machine almost every week, so I wanted to share all the mysteries about how they work.

They are rather simple: one week before the album’s release, it is streamed in its entirety on the site, and we tell the whole world. We do this via Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and by featuring it in multiple places within the site (link in sidebar of all pages [6M pv/week], and on the artist search page). These premieres are usually embeddable, so you can easily share them – while some sites demand to be the exclusive streaming destination in order to give a new record attention, we know that’s not how the Internet works. The goal behind these is to have as many people find out about the upcoming release as possible.

Typically, these albums are streamed via our partner SoundCloud, which provides the excellent shareable player that we’ve customized (it works on an iPad via HTML5!). But technology is no barrier, as long as we get a working streaming player, we are happy to work with other solutions as well.

We don’t get paid for running these features; they are just artists whose work we enjoy. Here is the eclectic list of the albums we’ve premiered so far. You should check out all of them, they are interesting.

If you are working with an artist on an interesting record, do get in touch with us.


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