PANDAS wanna know! Why IS charting so damned important?!

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Indeed, charting has been a hotbed issue within our group in recent weeks, especially the last 24 hours, so we figured we’d shed some light on why it’s so important.

A few years ago, resident “Chart Doctor” Sean Lovelace came up with a really cool idea: We’d get as many DJ’s as we could from around the country to submit their top 10 or 20 songs and he would take the time to compile them into the Panda Top 20. That way we’d have a bit of an idea of what was being played around the country in other markets.

I asked Sean about why he came up with this idea and his response? “I started the chart because I was curious what other industry DJs were playing.  With the wealth of music out there today a jock can spend hours a week looking for fresh tracks and not find it all.  So why not harness the power of the collective and provide a resource for our group?” Good question!

It started off as a success almost immediately. DJ’s sent in their tracks, maybe another guy across the country found a song that he’d never heard because of any number of reasons, and bam, the chart had a purpose.  Entertainers might like the song and would tip better, a track rocked the crowd and became a mainstay, a guest from out of town heard his favorite song from his home club and felt more comfortable where he was, and so on. It eventually started to get bigger and bigger.

It didn’t take long before the board members at the time took notice of what was going on. A Panda Top 20 show was formed with Danny Meyers, Sean Lovelace, and myself. It started off with a few submitting, but built up over time. Now we regularly get 40-60 charts. (The next goal is 100, consistently)
The top 20 has had every sort of music on it: EDM, trap, dubstep, bubblegum pop, rap. It’s much different than the other charts out there because it represents just HOW different each area’s formats can be. But that doesn’t mean a jock from a hip hop club in Southern Cali might have heard a track that’s incredibly popular in Atlanta, South Florida, etc. So the benefits became more and more obvious.
Next, was actual recognition from artists. Chris Jericho, of WWE and Fozzy fame, came out with a banging track, Lights Go Out. The song hit the charts not long after it was introduced and Jericho re-tweeted the show to his followers, getting the show and website a ton of hits. Since then, artist participation has only escalated. Now we’ve been able to get more music artists on shows like Strip Club Radio, Panda Top 20, and Off The Charts.
So what does that mean for PANDA? Well, it allows us to get sponsors on the site. PANDA isn’t a cheap endeavor. It’s a continual influx of money, with each board member spending large portions of their own money to set up events, travel, run the website and more. Sponsors help alleviate some of those costs.
When we can show big hits on our pages, we’re able to continue to grow PANDA with sponsorship. One of the ways that money is spent is in advertising in important publications like ED. (Speaking of ED, they now print the charts in every issue, like a few other publications do.) The magazine ads give out contact information and allow us to get to more markets in areas where we haven’t been before. That grows our membership and that’s always a good thing.

Other benefits? Bob Chiappardi from Strip Joints gets us FREE music from the record labels. When good tracks come out and we chart them, he’s able to show that what he’s doing does and IS working and he gets the chance to get better and better artists, get us the new tracks quicker, and it lets us know what he’s playing so he can work on getting the artists that are playing in our clubs right now. That led to a 5,000 dollar Rihanna video contest, a Motley Crew Official After Party contest, and more on the way.

This is how we can connect to the artists we’ve played for years. Recently, I got to have the greatest honor of my career when Bob got the lead singer of COLD on our Off the Charts show. That show is nearing 10,000 hits and has brought an incredible amount of traffic to the website. In turn, this gives us more for Bob to share with his labels and opens up more doors for us in the future.

In short, this is what’s helping us take PANDA to the next level. We’re taken more seriously today by our industry than we ever have been. The charts have been a big part in elevating us so we get discounted or free music, discounts on equipment, sponsors to further push the organization in the right direction, big contests that put money in our pockets or customers through our door, and so much more. That list of positives grows all the time and this idea is only getting started.

So yes, members of the group continue to stress the importance of charting and these are a few reasons why. Hope that clarifies some things. As always, thanks for reading.

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