Classic FM and video game music airplay – part 2

3 months ago, I posted the results of a mini analysis of the playlist for Classic FM’s Hall of Fame Hour show, a single one-hour show which is aired everyday, composed solely of pieces that made it into that year’s annual Hall of Fame. In this I found that despite a few inclusions on the playlist, video game music hadn’t been represented as much as they statistically could have been.

Now some time has passed, I thought it was wise to revisit this study to see if and how things might have changed since the end of June. As I’ve mentioned before, my method isn’t absolutely perfect as it doesn’t take into account music played in shows on either side, but with a set playlist, it should be a decent indicator of of the recognition the genre has been receiving over the past half year. Here are the headlines:

  • 1,452 pieces of music have been played on the Hall of Fame Hour show since March 29th
  • In total, video game music has been played on 9 occasions
  • The most played piece is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (position 26), being aired 22 times
  • Mozart remains the most played composer, featuring 74 times from a selection of 16 pieces
  • 35 pieces have yet to be played, including 8 composers with no works aired in the show
  • 4 pieces which don;t feature in the HoF have been played
  • Only 2 pieces (out of 7) by female composers have been played

top-10-pieces-sept-2016

top-10-composers-sept-2016

Here are the video game pieces played by Classic FM between 1st July and 30th September:
28th July – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (Jessica Curry)
7th August – Journey (Austin Wintory)
12th August – The Legend of Zelda Series (Koji Kondo)
16th August – Journey (Austin Wintory)
7th September – Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (Jessica Curry)
19th September – Aerith’s Theme (Nobuo Uematsu)

nobuo-uematsu

Whilst still not hugely representative of the composition of the Hall of Fame (VGM made up 0.8% of all pieces played in July, August and September, some way off the 3.7% that the genre is actually represented in the countdown), it’s encouraging to see that there has been more attention paid to this emerging form (a 100% increase over the last three months). It also seems that Wintory’s score for Journey, and Curry’s for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture have been given a decent amount of attention, hopefully acting as a gateway to the video game music for the station’s listenership.

There have also been a number of instances of pieces being played outside the show, including the regular Video Game special as part of Saturday Night at the Movies, a video game themed Full Works special to celebrate National Video Game Day, as well as some plays of Aerith’s Theme on breakfast and Drivetime, and a piece to celebrate 3 years of Final Fantasy XIV on a weekend show in August.

This is great to see (and hear), and is definitely worth raising a glass over – however, it’s certainly not job done. VGM also still lags behind film music (6.3% of HoF, 5.8% of plays in past 3 months) in representation, while of the 8 composers not yet showcased on the HoF hour, 4 are video game composers, one with two pieces in the Hall of Fame (Kirkhope) and another with a piece at 31 that hasn’t been touched (Shimomura).

everybodys-gone-to-the-rapture-screen-10-ps4-eu-30jan15

I’d like to also bring up another case of under-representation and that is of female composers. As mentioned, only 2 of the 7 pieces in the Hall of Fame which are composed by women have actually been played – Curry’s score from EGTTR and Helen Jane Long’s The Aviators. Long’s other two pieces, as well as Fiona Bennett’s brace of works and Shimomura’s score for Kingdom Hearts remain unplayed. Hopefully this oversight addressed over the course of the next three months, because at the moment it’s rather disappointing to see the work of the female composers in the top 300 almost ignored.

There are a couple of other interesting oddities from this analysis that are worth flagging as well. Firstly, while I’m disappointed that Kingdom Hearts at no. 31 hasn’t yet been played, I’m absolutely baffled that Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight) just two places below it hasn’t been aired as part of the show either. It’s also interesting to see two pieces at the very lower reaches of the chart being the third and fourth most played works on the show in the last six months – it’ll be interesting to see if this increased airplay leads to a rise up the charts in the next countdown.

Anyway, that’s enough analysis for now – the next update at the end of the year will be much like this one, but I intend to have a rather more thorough analysis of the state of play for how things look one year on at the end of March. In the meantime, let me know what you think of this analysis, as well as if you have any queries about the full results or any suggestions on what else I could be looking at.

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