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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Music show boss attacks UK charts
Chris Cowey
Cowey has been credited with reviving TOTP's fortunes
The boss of BBC One's long-running music programme Top of the Pops has attacked the UK singles chart for not being a reflection of the most popular songs in the country.

The Official Top 40, which forms the basis for the programme, was "dysfunctional" and "often full of crap", the show's executive producer and director Chris Cowey told the Financial Times newspaper.

He said the chart was "controlled by record companies".

The Top 40 hasn't got credibility

Chris Cowey
On Friday Top of the Pops celebrates its 2,000th programme. It has counted down the top selling songs in the UK for more than 37 years.

Mr Cowey said Top of the Pops was "successful in spite of the Top 40 chart, not because of it".


He told the newspaper that most songs make it into the top 10 because their record companies have used "clever marketing practices" and "not because they are popular".

Mr Cowey has been a long-standing sceptic with regard to the singles chart and last year he told BBC News Online that it was becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Atomic Kitten
Atomic Kitten are at number one in the charts
"I'm fully prepared to have something on (the programme) which isn't a single," he said at the time, adding that the show had to be aware of what was being listened to even if it was "12-inch, 7-inch, double groove vinyl, and mp3 download".

He told the newspaper: "One week a record will be there because it is being sold at a discount and the next it's out of the chart because they've raised the price.

Official chart

"There's so much great music around and people are listening to it, but the charts are often full of crap.

"The Top 40 hasn't got credibility."

The Official UK Singles Chart is collated by the Official UK Charts Company, which is co-owned by by the British Association of Record Dealers and industry trade body the British Phonographic Industry.

Mr Cowey proposed the chart should be calculated using the value of sales, rather than volume.

He said this would prevent record companies discounting singles and he said that the amount of radio and TV airplay each single gets could also be a factor in compiling the chart.

'Digital delivery'

The Official UK Singles Chart said it was examining the possibility of including digital downloads in its figures.

"Five years from now digital delivery will certainly be significant enough to be included in the data that makes the charts," said chart director Omar Maskatiya.

Millions of songs are downloaded as mp3 files every day, most of them illegally, via online music services such as Kazaa or Gnutella or official services such as Pressplay and MusicNet.

But there is no chart reflecting the most popular downloads either of older material or contemporary releases.

Top of the Pops on BBC Online
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Is the UK singles chart still credible?



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