The Music Charts of the World

The world is full of different musical styles and tastes. Most countries in the world have a chart which lists artists by the amount of records they have sold in a given week. The following examines some of the most notable musical charts from around the world.

World music Chart

United Kingdom

The UK Singles Chart as we know it today has been running since 1969, when the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) began recording sales data from 250 record shops. Today, The Top 40 chart is run by the Official Charts Company (OCC) and is first broadcast on Sunday afternoons by BBC Radio 1.

Elvis Presley holds the record for the most UK number one hits, followed by The Beatles, Cliff Richard and 90s favourites Take That and the Spice Girls.


The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) was established in 1983 by six of the country’s major record labels. It records sales data from more than 1100 retailers across Australia and as in the UK, the results are broadcast on a Sunday afternoon.

Alongside worldwide superstars such as The Beatles and Elvis Pressley, natives Kylie Minogue and Delta Goodrem are among the artists who have recorded the highest number of hit singles.


As the biggest consumer of recorded music across the globe, the USA’s Billboard Hot 100 is considered to be one of the most difficult music charts to top, with many well-known artists, who have achieved immense global success, never reaching the coveted number one spot. The size of the country may be the reason why America is often deemed as “difficult to break”.

Madonna is probably one of the most banned artists in various parts of America, as various groups (often religious) consider her work offensive, with many attempting to encourage boycotts.

If you find yourself in the USA during the months of June, July and August it’s worth checking out the Warp Tour. Sponsored by shoe manufacturer Vans, the month and a half long tour has been taking place in parking lots since 1994, with previous talents included My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy.


Often well-known for its obsession with karaoke, Japan is in fact the second largest consumer of recorded music; with boy bands such as Backstreet Boys remain a popular band amongst Japanese citizens. Westernised bands were initially the main contributing factor to the country’s obsession with J-Pop (Japanese Pop); however, the genre has widened to include music from anime and video games, as well as hip-hop and metal.

In 2007, Japan played host to two Live Earth concerts in Tokyo and Kyoto. Acts like Linkin Park, Rihanna and Kumi Koda performed to a global audience, as the shows were broadcast online via MSN.


In China, music isn’t necessarily controlled by the public, but by censorship as the authorities aim to remove all tracks and artists that they believe are in “poor taste and (contain) vulgar content”. Recently banned artists, in China include popular US stars Lady Gaga, Backstreet Boys and Katy Perry. However, it isn’t just Westernised music that has been known to fall victim to China’s censorship, as many Asian-based artists have also found themselves victim to the cull.

Despite huge restrictions of music, every year Beijing plays host to tens of thousands of music lovers, as part of their Midi Modern Music Festival.


In 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad moved to ban radio and television stations in the country from playing Western music, of which he considered to be “indecent”. Despite this view, American music has played a huge role in shaping Iran’s musical landscape, with New York’s vibes been a strong influence on Iran’s love for both rap and hip-hop based music.


A country famous for industrial synthesizer rock it is now home to a colourful array of musical styles from Hip Hop to Gangsta rap. Early rock bands emerged in the late 60s and it is these bands which developed their sound into the genre known as Krautrock.

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