Top 40 charts are lists and rankings of songs, albums and other music-related releases according to popularity. Magazines, companies and radio stations have varying criteria in compiling their top 40 charts and lists. There are, however, some commonly followed criteria for top 40 charts, such as album and retail sales, radio votes, number of radio requests and frequency of airplay. Top 40 charts are useful especially for music lovers and radio listeners who want to get updated on the hits that currently dominate the airwaves. Producers and artists also benefit from music charts because they get a general overview of how their album is doing in terms of record sales and popularity among the listeners.
Top 40 music charts are usually geographically specific -- they usually pertain to the 40 most popular hits or albums in a country or region for a specific time period. While anyone and any group or organization can compile their own Top 40 charts, most countries have an "official" music entity that majority of the listening public consult for their charts. While US has the Billboard charts and New Zealand the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, Australia has the Australian Recording Industry Association.
Popular top 40 charts in Australia
One of the most well-known publishers of top 40 charts is the Australian Recording Industry Association or ARIA. The ARIA charts are published weekly and are considered as the official Australian music charts. Among the music-related charts currently being published by ARIA are the top 40 highest selling music DVDs, top 40 highest selling urban releases and top 40 highest selling digital releases (also called top 40 digital track chart). The ARIA top 40 charts are published every Sunday night on the association's website, followed by a printed release on Mondays. The ARIA charts are also compiled based on music genre, singles and albums.
Another popular publisher of top 40 music charts in Australia is Take 40. Take 40 is one of the longest-running music radio programmes in Australia that combines data from radio airplay and digital and retail sales to produce their weekly top 40 countdown. Take 40's top 40 weekly countdown is broadcast nationally, ranking the most popular hits in Australia. Take 40's top 40 countdown first hit the airwaves back in 1984 and has remained as one of the popular and trusted compilations of the top 40 best-selling tracks and albums.
Other producers and publishers of top 40 music charts in Australia include BBC, as well as various music magazines and radio stations.