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How To Make The Top 40 Beautiful...

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:15 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

The Love 40

Charts, eh? They're a pickle. On the one hand, they're a fantastic way of explaining what is going on in the world of music at a single point in time, but on the other, they can be quite a dry list, closer to statistics than music appreciation. And you can't extrapolate too much information from a single Top 40, or look at the way a single song has moved around over several weeks without making the whole thing damn-near impossible to read.

Or at least, you couldn't until now. Radio 1 have been working on a new way of visualising the chart, one which includes the passing of time AND your individual passion for certain songs.

Interested? YES YOU ARE. Pop open a browser and feast your senses on The Love 40.

(And then read on for further instructions)

How It All Works And What It Can Do

OK, so on the right-hand side of the screen is this week's chart. You can listen to a soundclip of any of the songs and you can see whether it's gone up or down in the chart since last week. So far, so normal.

BUT, immediately to the left of this is a column of undulating spots - each one is a song or album - which represents the previous week's chart positions. And next to that is another one, and another... this is where things start to get amazing. Hover your pointer over any of those dots, and you'll see a potted history of that song's chart trajectory over the past 10 weeks. Look, here's what Plan B's 'She Said' has been up to:

Plan B's chart trajectory

And if you want to compare two or more songs at once, you can just click on the tickboxes on the far right of the screen.

Now this is where things start to get interesting. If you click on one of the songblobs, you'll be taken to a screen that invites you to express your love for it by clicking on the LOVE button, which is a vote of support for that song. You can also Facebook it, or tweet, and you can link from your blog or email your friends.

This is the 'I love Plan B' page

ChartBlog will be inviting people to do likewise from our reviews too. It's just another way of saying "SQUEE!", which is what sensible music fans do a lot.

But what if you could take all of those squees and turn them into a beautiful internet visualisation? What if you could make one which shows which songs are getting the most love, and which ones are waning, without having to look at another list of songs, in order of importance, on a flat page?

Well what if indeed? Go back to the chart page, and flick the switch in the top left-hand corner, to change from a CHART view to a LOVE view.

The love chartPurdy, isnit? The more love for a song there is, the bigger the blob. And the more people who put their love in, the purdier that's gonna get. And it's statistically useful too!

Now, the Love 40 is still a prototype, so it'll get more and more interesting over the next few weeks, the more love people put in. And it's already a wonderful thing RIGHT NOW!

But don't just take my word for it, go and have a play.

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