Hit ParadeSlate

The Bridge: Radio-Friendly Unit Shifters

Chris Molanphy talks to veteran chart analyst Geoff Mayfield about the Billboard charts he oversaw in the early SoundScan era.

[This edition of my Hit Parade—“The Bridge” bonus series is available to Slate Plus subscribers only. A link to the episode show page is below. To sign up for Plus—and tell Slate that Hit Parade sent you!—visit slate.com/hitparadeplus.]

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is first joined by “The Bridge” producer Asha Saluja to digest the latest episode of Hit Parade about how Nirvana launched the post-Christmas music sales phenomenon. Chris recalls his most memorable (and sultriest) post-Christmas CD purchase from his college years. And Asha shares her Hot 100 chart-topper from the week she was born, a banger that handily beats Chris’ schlocky birth-week song. (You’ll want to hear this one—it’s a doozy!)

Next, Chris is joined by Geoff Mayfield, a veteran music industry analyst and journalist who managed Billboard’s charts department in the 1990s as the magazine adopted SoundScan technology for point-of-sale tracking—fundamentally changing the way its charts were tabulated, and telling music-biz honchos some news they didn’t always want to hear.

Finally, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, gives him a chance to turn the tables on him, and previews next month’s full-length episode. Slate Plus members can sign up for a chance to be our trivia contestant on a future episode here.

Podcast production by Asha Saluja.