With Ed Sheeran’s entire 16-song album landing in this week’s Top 40 singles chart in Australia, it’s time for a rethink.

In American baseball, the ‘90s is known retrospectively as the steroid era, such was the proliferation of players doping at the time. Not surprisingly, this super-human strength resulted in numerous records being broken, as enhanced players smashed their ways to amazing statistical feats. This was great for audiences, who were suddenly seeing balls bashed into parking lots, but it was a nightmare for the statisticians and analysts, who suddenly found their grading curve destroyed.

It was now impossible to compare players from different eras, without taking into account the massive boost certain players illegally gained. Many records that were broken in that era still stand, with mere un-juiced humans proving unable to touch them. All the statistics were now irrelevant. Baseball was forever tainted. Plus, it was pretty boring to begin with…

This is what is happening with singles charts around the world right now. The ability to release music digitally through platforms such as iTunes, and Spotify may have ushered in an era of democratised distribution, but in a sea of endless tunes, it is still — by and large — the old promotional machines put in place by major labels years ago, with their superior man-hours, higher budgets, and networks of radio, media, and television contacts, that end up breaking through. Obviously there are viral hits, regional success stories, and the odd chart-topper from out of left field, but the advantages and exposure granted to artists on larger labels remains much the same.