How is the chart compiled?
The Tipparade - The odd one out
Synergy with the media
As the only monitored music chart in Belgium based on retail sales, Ultratop is the only one providing an accurate picture of Belgian sales.
Another important step was the launch of the Ultratop dance chart in September 1996. Originally, the dance chart was a compilation of the most danceable tracks from the mainstream chart, compiled in the same order. Then, at the request of the dance labels and as a result of the massive interest in current dance music, Ultratop started contacting specialist dance shops and now the dance chart is based solely on their measured sales. The system operates in the same way as the other Ultratop charts. We are, of course, working with a smaller number of shops here, all of whom also specialise in different dance genres, which makes it more difficult to produce a completely representative chart. That is why we developed our own automated store system and more outlets were added to the panel of shops. The dance chart was originally broadcast by Studio Brussel, subsequently by C-Dance and from early 2005 it was broadcast for five years on Topradio. At the end of 2009 legal downloads of specialised dance portals were added to the dance chart as well. At the end of 2011 airplay of dance stations was added to the mix. Ever since the Ultratop Dance 50 is broadcast by MNM in Flanders and since September 2012 on Radio Contact in Wallonia.
Specifically for Studio Brussel an 'alternative' albums Top 50 was also started up in early 2001, while in September 2012 MNM launched the Urban chart, derived from the singles chart.
In 2004 the album chart was split up into full price and mid price charts, as a reaction to the changing music market. As soon as albums drop below a certain PPD limit, they are permanently moved to the mid price chart. This ensures that new talent is more likely to find its way to the regular album chart and consequently the chart becomes more interesting.
The spring of 2004 saw the start of the Music DVD chart. Following the rise of the DVD in general, music DVDs had also started booming. Ultratop reacted upon the rocketing sales and ever-increasing offer by launching a weekly music DVD chart.
To celebrate Ultratop's 10th anniversary a jubilee book of over 600 pages was successfully published in late 2005, covering:
- All hits from the Flemish and Walloon album Top 100, single Top 100 and airplay Top 200
- 5,882 artists, 15,282 singles, 5,457 albums
- All complete end-of-year charts
- All Number Ones
- All sorts of trivia and records
- Photos of and comments on the main artists
We also started up the Heatseekers Top 20, a chart of albums still ranked right below the Top 100.
In 2011 the Flemish Ultratop 10 was also split up into separate charts for general and children's songs. This way Radio 2 fully supports the Flemish Ultratop 10 again. In 2012 this chart was cancelled and the album chart was expanded to a Top 200.
A code of conduct has been drawn up for the compilation of the charts. This includes general rules and specific ones for each chart. It explains perfectly which titles qualify for which chart, when a CD is moved to the mid price chart and lists the rules regarding signing sessions and sales-stimulating events as well as the way the dance chart is compiled. Since compiling charts is no stationary phenomenon and must adapt to its time, the code is regularly adapted.
The charts are also printed in almost all newspapers and a number of magazines each week. Besides the special Ultratop poster, which appeared in the shops for free every Friday since our start and was replaced by a shop poster in 2006, we also have our own websites. The new Flemish and French-language charts are updated every Friday afternoon. There are also links to the websites of music companies, artists, radio stations, foreign charts, weekly releases, chart analyses, end-of-year charts etc. as well as competitions every week. Please visit www.ultratop.be for our Flemish and French-language sites. You can keep up to date with the changes in broadcast hours, listen to sound samples, post reviews on songs and albums, participate in the chart stock game, chat, search our chart archives and consult all our charts, i.e. the singles Top 50, album Top 200, Tip 100, dance Top 50, Top 20 compilations, Flemish Ultratop 10, music DVD Top 10, mid price Top 20, Belgian album Top 20, back catalogue downloads Top 50, classical Top 20, dance bubbling under 20, urban Top 50. Those interested can also get a paid subscription on the charts and receive them by e-mail. In 2008 we also started a successful newsletter, which for many music lovers has already become a weekly fixture.
It goes without saying that the system used by Ultratop is very expensive to run. Music companies can join Ultratop by paying a fixed fee. The majors pay most of the cost, and smaller companies pay a smaller contribution. At present, about 27 companies, who together account for 95% of CD sales in Belgium, are members of Ultratop. All members are entitled to the same benefits: a seat at the General Meeting, eligibility for a seat on the Board of Directors, the Board of Directors' reports, extensive weekly charts, quicker access to weekly charts (Wednesday afternoon), quarterly, six-monthly and annual overviews, additional statistical information, better advertising rates in the Ultratop poster, better rates from Music Control, a subscription to Ultratop posters and a free link on the Ultratop website. In addition, Ultratop has concluded a contract with VRT/TMF in Flanders and RTL/Contact in the French-speaking provinces which grants them the exclusive right to broadcast all Ultratop charts.