From: Patrick Douglas Crispen 

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S): UPDATE: Album Charts, Airplay Lists, and Animal Droppings

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in the beautiful city of Irvine, California, possible childhood home of Werner Heisenberg (although we aren't quite certain.)

I have a travel advisory for you. If you are planning to visit California’s Mission San Juan Capistrano to see the swallows, don't bother. The swallows aren't there. THEY ARE AT MY HOUSE! Somehow or other the swallows have confused my house with the Mission (15 miles South of here), and are now building nests all over the outside of my home.


By the way, I want to apologize for the recent delays in our delivery. Our little bus of Internet happiness was in and out of the shop over the past month and a half while our friends at AOL updated to the latest version of L-SOFT LISTSERV (and while your fearless bus driver learned, first hand, why writing a batch file that includes the line DEL *.* is not a very smart idea.) Words cannot describe how much I appreciate your patience over the past month and a half. Things should be back to normal now -- weather and swallows permitting.

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. PLEASE take a moment to thank each of our sponsors for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.

On with the show ...

I know you have been looking forward to the end of my list of Top 21 favorite Web sites. You’ll have to wait a few more days. Before we finish the list, I want to update you on a couple of really cool sites we first visited last Summer.

The two questions I am asked the *LEAST* are:

1. How can I use the Internet to find album charts and radio
airplay lists; and

2. How do I calibrate my manure spreader?

Today's TOURBUS post answers both of these questions. :P

Album Charts and Airplay Lists

Let's pretend you're feeling a little adventurous and want to purchase some new music, stuff you've NEVER heard before. Or, even better, let's pretend that a teenager you know is having a birthday. You want to give this teen a couple of new CDs but the last popular music song you remember is "Muskrat Love." What do you do?

If you're like most people, you head to your local record store and solicit the advice of a sales clerk -- a person who, according to the rules adopted at the 1947 Geneva Record Store Convention, HAS to be an angst-ridden teenager wearing WAY too much black. Asking a record store sales clerk ANY question, however, is a BIG mistake. Record store employees all suffer from a serious case of CDD -- Clue Deficit Disorder. I should know. I once worked in a record store. I also thought that Brooks & Dunn was Garth Brooks' other band.

Besides, if you ask a record store clerk for his or her recommendations, one of two things will happen:

1. The clerk will recommend a pathetically bad local band named
something like "Verga" or "Phil and the Blanks." No one, other than the clerk, has ever heard of this band.

2. The clerk will direct you to a copy of the Billboard 200 and
Hot 100 lists hanging on the store's wall.

Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you don't have to go to the record store to see these charts. Just point your Web browser to Billboard magazine's Web site at .

[WARNING: pop-up!]

Over on the left side of the page you'll see links to the latest Billboard album and single charts. Most of the chart titles are self-explanatory. For example, the country album chart shows the top 20 country music albums. The only album chart that requires any
explanation is something called "Heatseekers": .

[WARNING: another pop-up!]

According to Billboard,

The Heatseekers chart lists the best-selling titles by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the top 100 of The Billboard 200 chart

In other words, if you are looking for new, popular music groups or artists -- stuff you've never heard before -- the Heatseekers chart may be just what you're looking for.

Remember, though, that Billboard's album charts are based on *SALES*. The more copies a particular album sells, the higher it will be ranked on the charts. Sounds scientific, but sales are not always a good indicator of whether or not a particular album is any GOOD. Case in point: the Backstreet Boys. They may have sold a squillion albums, but they'll NEVER be as good as N'Sync. :P

If you're interested in the most popular music singles (instead of albums), take a look at Billboard's Hot 100 list at .

[WARNING: man, Billboard loves pop-ups!]

You can see the first 50 positions on the chart for free. To see the rest you'll need a monthly membership (at almost US$15 a month). :(

Billboard also offers airplay charts, charts showing the songs that have been played the most on the radio over the past week. Skip those. You can find some MUCH better airplay charts on Radio and Records' Web site at

Radio and Records is the weekly newspaper for the radio industry, and it has more airplay charts than you can shake a stake at. Just click on the "Charts" list on the left hand side of the page to see R&R's complete list of airplay charts.

R&R offers lists, by genre, of

  • The top 50 songs (by number of times that song has been played
  • in the past week)
  • New & Active (new songs that are starting to be played a LOT)
  • Most Added (this most popular brand new songs this week)
  • Most Increased Plays (the songs that are increasing in
  • popularity)
  • Most Played Recurrents (oldies but goodies)
  • Going for Adds (songs that could be big in a few weeks)
  • Going for Adds is a GREAT place to look for new songs before they get played to death by your local radio station.

    Okay, Billboard shows you the most popular albums and singles that have been purchased over the past week and Radio and Records shows you which songs have been played the most on the radio over the past week. But what if you want to HEAR a particular song before you plunk down your hard earned money to purchase a copy of it? That's where our next stop comes in.

    Go to CDNow at

    and search for the song that she would like to hear. The CDNow Web site, through the use of Real Audio, Windows Media, or plain old MPEG audio, lets you listen to brief, 30-second streaming audio snippets of almost any song you can think of. And, because you aren't really downloading anything from CDNow other than a 30 second, low quality audio clip that will automatically be deleted when you close your audio player, all of this is perfectly legal. :)

    So, if you're looking for new or popular music, go to Billboard or Radio and Records, check this week's charts, and then go to CDNow and listen to snippets of the songs that interest you. Then go to Kazaa and steal the songs you really like.

    I'M KIDDING! Don't do that.

    Instead, go to your local record store with a list of the albums and songs you like and laugh at the angst-ridden teenager behind the counter ("Verga! HA-HA-HA!").

    Oh, one last thing. If you are concerned about explicit lyrics, you might want to think about buying your CDs and tapes at Wal-Mart. Almost every major record label in the US releases two versions of their albums: a regular, sometimes explicit version, which is available everywhere but Wal-Mart; and a clean, edited version which is sold exclusively at Wal-Mart. Parents LOVE the Wal-Mart version. Teenagers, understandably, are less enthusiastic.

    Remember, if you want a sanitized version of a particular album, go to Wal-Mart. If you want an unedited version, check out your local record store or an online merchant. [Personally, I like my albums UN- edited, thank you, but that's just me.]

    Manure Spreading Calibration

    Finally, for those of you who have had problems calibrating your manure spreaders (and who also have Real Player on your computer), check out .

    I found this video the other night as I was doing some research for one of my classes at Pepperdine -- don't ask -- and I immediately forwarded it to all of my friends. It turns out that there is a small error in the video, though. As one of my friends, Purdue engineering alumnus Dave Albert, recently pointed out to me,

    I can't help but point out the unstated assumption in the second half of the video (application of liquid manure) that could lead to disastrous farming results if left unstated. In calculating the amount of liquid manure applied during the test, the host says he needs the capacity of the liquid manure spreader. However, he fails to point out that he is assuming the liquid manure spreader to be full at the start of the test and to be empty at the end of the test.

    I can't help but be a little disappointed in Penn State here. Given Purdue's rich history in agriculture, I'll bet that if we had made the video, we would have gotten our [manure] straight.

    I hope this clear some things up. Have a safe and happy weekend and we'll talk again soon. :)

    TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S): Album Charts, Airplay Lists, and Animal Droppings


    HOLT (verb) Past tense of the infinitive "to hold." Usage: "Bubba, grab a holt of the pickup and hang on!"

    [Special thanks to Ken Sawka for today's wurd]

    You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at

    .~~~. )) (\__/) .' ) )) Patrick Douglas Crispen /o o \/ .~ {o_, \ { / , , ) \ `~ '-' \ } )) AOL Instant Messenger: Squirrel2K _( ( )_.' '---..{____} Warning: squirrels.

    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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