Beautiful Billboard Bar Charts

It’s March which means it’s time for another #SWDChallenge from Cole Knaflic, author of the widely popular “Storytelling With Data” book and blog. Each month in 2018, Cole challenges the dataviz community to create a visualization following a specific theme. This month, the challenge is bar charts.

Bar charts are simple and probably the most widely used chart type. They are them simplest form of visual for us to understand quickly.

I’m a semi-professional appreciator of music and when you pair that with my knack for data analysis and visualization, you end up scraping every single Billboard Hot 100 chart going back to 1958 to look for trends. Well, in my initial exploration, I was curious what the distribution was for amount of weeks spent on the chart. So I built a histogram depicting just that. And the result intrigued me! The MAJORITY of songs to ever chart on the Hot 100 have spent exactly 20 weeks. As a data analyst, I knew this was the point of entry into further analysis.

By breaking it down further by number songs each year to spend exactly 20 weeks on the chart, I again saw a massive jump in 1991. This led me to do some research and come to find out there is a little known rule in the Hot 100 criteria. “Any song to spend 20 weeks on the chart AND not rise above the 50th spot will be designated as “recurrent” and removed from the list.” Billboard implemented this rule as a way to keep having fresh new songs added to the list.

A fun exercise and a lesson in exploratory analysis!

Click for the interactive version


Until next time!

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