BBC Switch - The Sound Index
How did we manage to make statistics interesting to teenagers?
The BBC Sound Index is a revolutionary achievement and has been hailed by The Guardian as “the first definitive music chart for the internet age”.
Every 6 hours, the site crawls MySpace, YouTube, Bebo, Last FM, iTunes & Google to compile a Top 1000 chart of the artists and tracks people are discussing and listening to on the web.
The site then mashes-up content surrounding the artist and tracks to build a truly engaging site, pulling in the track video, artist information and discography – effectively automatically rebuilding the whole website on the fly every 6 hours.
The site uses a Semantic Extraction technology to continuously gather user comments, listens, views and other interest indicators across the social media sites. This very large quantity of raw data is then fed through a proprietary Online Business Intelligence Engine, so that it can be modelled in real-time by multiple concurrent users who can each create their own specific chart by music genre, music source, geo location or any of a number of socio-demographics.
Users can customise the chart and embed the results within their own social network profile pages or blogs using the widgets available on the site.
Despite all these achievements, the site is still W3C AA compliant to meet the BBC’s accessibility requirements.