The latest ARIA Charts, released on Sunday evening, reveal a particularly interesting loophole in the stats trackers systems. A technicality that’s been highlighted by the success of New Zealand indie-pop sensation Lorde as she climbs her way to the higher ranks of the ARIA Singles Chart.
The 16-year-old songwriter has found huge success with her single ‘Royals‘, a song that charmingly pokes fun at rappers and pop stars flaunting the limelight that ironically has thrust the singer into the spotlight herself. But curiously, it’s not ‘Royals’ that’s placed Lorde at #4 in the Australian charts, but in fact her debut EP The Love Club that appears in the Top 5.
So why is a six-track EP release eligible for the singles chart? The ARIA Charts Code of Practice (on page 20 to be precise) states that a single is classified as “any format (physical or digital) which is… a product containing up to five different songs, and with a music content of not more than 25 minutes duration.”
The Love Club clocks in at 19 minutes, which fits the criteria, but still contains six tracks; it is still eligible due to another stipulation, because the closing track is a remix of the opening number ‘Bravado’, two versions of the same song. A technicality that makes The Love Club a five-track release. Curiously, it’s not ‘Royals’ that’s placed Lorde at #4 in the Australian charts, but in fact her debut EP The Love Club
Speaking to Tone Deaf about Lorde’s EP classifying in the singles chart, an ARIA spokesperson says: “The sales for an EP are calculated based on the number of units sold of the total EP combined with sales for the lead track (nominated by the record label). In this case ‘Royals’ is the lead track nominated by UMA.” Meaning that the #4 ranking of The Love Club is based both on the sales of ‘Royals’ as an individual purchase is pooled with the sales of the EP as well.
“Another track (apart from ‘Royals’) off The Love Club EP could Chart if that particular track sold enough units,” adds the ARIA representative. “However sales of the EP would not count towards that track’s chart position.” The spokesperson also pointed out that EPs (as defined in the ARIA Charts Code of Practice) have topped the ARIA Singles Chart over the years, but could not identify which specific releases had achieved such a feat.
Lorde also occupies the #40 position on the ARIA Singles Chart with her ‘Royals’ follow-up single, ‘Tennis Club’, which was issued as a standalone single in June by Universal Music Australia.
Neither Lorde or her record label can really be called out for cheating the system or manipulating a little-known loophole, but whether the conditions make for a fair or unfair sales advantage by a popular single lifted from a longer release is another matter.
The ARIA Charts, which recently celebrated its 30th Birthday with a ream of historical music trivia, recently landed in some controversy over its statistics tracking when they retracted a recent Chart in which Kanye West’s Yeezus album was beaten to the #1 spot by an album of country music covers.