For the first time ever, alongside streaming services, teenagers emitting ultrasonic squeals of delight will be used in calculating album and singles sales. Pant-wetting, fainting and ‘excitement-induced fainting’ will also form part of a complicated algorithm designed to measure contemporary trends. No longer will music journalists have to consult with dogs as to which high-pitched noise belongs to Beliebers, Directioners or ‘a guy shepherding sheep’.
While tinnitus remains the industry-standard format with which to experience the Top 40, many see the acceptance of screams as an important step in acknowledging the popularity of more obscure tunes.
Bastille’s song Pompeii would have been No.1 if screaming data were available, while the news that ‘Harry Styles is lush’ would have dominated the charts had screaming been added to the total. Other types of screamed feedback are all expected to make an impact on future sales – such as our response to the dentist’s drill, things that go bump in the night and ‘…seeing our parents having sex’.
Trying to calculate the enthusiasm of a fanbase will require close monitoring to ensure screams do not get confused with other high-pitched sounds – as Dolphins, for instance, have for a long time been lobbying for Barry Manilow to make a comeback. Likewise screams generated by having ice cubes dropped down your shorts will not count towards single sales; neither will roller coaster rides, paper cuts or waking up next to Ed Miliband.
However, some scientists are concerned that ‘screams of frustration’ rather than joy could propel certain songs up the chart. One audio technician explained: ‘Listening to Gary Barlow can sometimes mimic the feeling you have when a pocket tissue enters your laundry cycle and covers everything in lint. It’s a cause of annoyance not happiness. Just like Robin Thicke is the music equivalent of not being able to look up the correct spelling of a word in the dictionary because you don’t know how to spell it. It just makes you want to scream’.