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RAGNAPOP: Twilight Of The Polls
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The rumours are true: the Peoples Pop Polls are coming to an end.

I could go deep into the reasons for this and maybe later I will, but most of them are obvious, and the most important one is this: I always think you should stop doing something while you’re still enjoying it. I initially expected to be doing the polls for a few months, then I thought maybe 3 or 4 years, 5 at the most. We’ll end up – depending on whether Twitter dies on its arse before then – on 4. A good run.

More important than the WHY of the ending is the HOW.

All through the People’s Pop Polls the top 8 tracks in each poll – and a few others – have gone into POLLHALLA, a playlist of democratically selected greats maintained by the mighty Dan Perry.

The plan has always been to conclude the People’s Pop Poll Project with a final poll of polls where the tracks in Pollhalla battle one another for supremacy. The perfect name for this project came from regular Graham Meikle – RAGNAPOP.

We’ve a few more polls to go until RAGNAPOP is upon us. The latest it will happen is May – the 4th anniversary of me setting up the actual @peoples_pop account. So this post is about the run-up to that as well as the actual final poll itself.


We have a few polls scheduled before Ragnapop starts, each of which will send (as usual) a bunch of tracks to Pollhalla where they have the opportunity to compete in Ragnapop.

The World Cup Of 2015 is happening now – our one and only 2010s year spotlight! 

The World Cup Of Animals is scheduled for mid-October. A menagerie of pop beasts will be unleashed. Nominations day for that is September 30th – this coming Saturday.

The World Cup Of 2003 is scheduled for mid-November. Our final historical year poll!

In December we will do UNPOLLED BANGERS FROM UNPOLLED YEARS – see below.

I planned for two more following this, which I’d still like to do, but I have to be honest. The voting numbers for 2015 have been very low – symptomatic not just of a low-interest theme but of a platform that’s degrading faster than anyone imagined. I think Animals and particularly 2003 will be better-subscribed, but at some point I have to ask myself – how much effort can I put in?

So I’m going to make a final decision on these after I see participation levels for Animals Noms day and the rest of the 2015 poll. Assuming they do go ahead…

The World Cup Of 2023 – our fourth annual look back at the year in music – will provisionally be in January as usual.

Black Pop History Month 1978-1981 will provisionally be in February, moving from its previous date of October to match US Black History Month rather than the UK one. As before, an A- and B-Sides poll will run simultaneously.

The final poll before Ragnapop will be a one entry per nominator poll called The World Cup Of Favourite Songs. More on that another time – it should be fairly obvious what it is!


We’ve also been running minipolls, which offer another route to Pollhalla for a smaller number of songs.

My original plan for this Autumn was to run something I called CRISIS ON INFINITE POLLS – groups from polls we never got around to running. Unfortunate external circumstances have meant I’m not going to have time to do this – instead the format will be reserved for a future LEAGUE OF TRACKS season.

Instead I’ll be running the Unpolled Bangers From Unpolled Years minipolls.

These will be tracks we’ve never polled from years which didn’t get their own poll by artists who are not already in Pollhalla. Many years will get multiple tracks.

We’ll pick these by open suggestion after we’ve done Animals nominations – there will be a year sweepstake, where you put your name in and a selection of years you want: you’ll get a year you can select a track from.

There will be a daily Unpolled Bangers match, and then the finals of Unpolled Bangers will serve as our Christmas Poll.

Ultimately, once Unpolled Bangers, Favourite Songs, and whatever main polls we do are done, it’s…


By this point we will have 450-ish songs in Pollhalla. Ragnapop will include c.256 of them.

So before Ragnapop itself we’ll work out what actually gets into the competition. Ragnapop will include:

  • The Top 3 from each A-Side poll we’ve run (c. 135 songs)
  • The winner from each *full* B-Side poll we’ve run (eg the BPHM B polls, the Christmas stocking) (c. 4 songs)
  • Generous helpings from Unpolled Bangers and Favourite songs (c. 16 songs)

That leaves roughly 100 slots to be decided.

20-25 of them will be decided by PRIZE WINNERS in the remaining polls, who will get the chance to put a track through.

The rest will be decided by a big ballot launching during the end stages of the Favourite Songs poll (with a fairly limited entry window, cos I will want to get Ragnapop moving).

Finally, parallel to Ragnapop we’ll run the Ultimate Golden Beat, a one nomination per person mini tournament where you can put forward your single favourite discovery across the 4-year history of the polls.

And that’s all!

Meanwhile, a lot of the People’s Pop Twitter community are winding up on Bluesky, which is sadly poll-free for the forseeable but is beginning to pick up some good music (and other) chat. It’s far from impossible that some kind of organised fun will happen there in future. If you’re a PPP regular and need a code, let us know in the comments!

What Is A People’s Pop Poll (And Can We Eat It)?
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It’s been suggested a quick INTRO and UPDATE post would be helpful here!

This is the blog homepage for the People’s Pop Polls. These are regular (roughly monthly) themed music tournaments. People nominate tracks, I arrange them into groups, everyone votes on them and discusses the songs. It’s fun!

The polls have generally run on Twitter. I recently tried to move them off Twitter and it’s proved difficult for a bunch of reasons. So the tournament style polls are moving back to Twitter for now.

The current poll is the CHARITY CRUSHER. This was an unthemed poll in which people could nominate anything they liked to raise money for ActionAid and the Ruth Hayman Trust. We raised over £3200 and got over 400 tracks to poll. That’s too many for a normal poll so I’ve split it into two sections, ANCIENT and MODERN. The Ancient poll is anything released before the year 2000, the Modern is anything released in 2000 or since.

We’ve just finished doing the Modern Qualifiers (opening round) on this site, and now we’ll do the Ancient Qualifiers on Twitter.

After the Charity Crusher polls finish we’ll go back to the theme polls. The first two of these will be LATE WORK (tracks released in the 25th year or later of an artist’s career) and the year 2015.

Meanwhile on here we’ll be running the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY TRACKS, a more leisurely poll taking advantage of the things we can’t do on Twitter but can on a blog. I’ll be opening player slots for this later in the week.

For a history of the polls and a lot more detail on how they work go here.

For a complete list of what’s qualified so far in the current poll go here.

And here’s the playlist for the entire Ancient poll (not in match order)

The Polls: Next Steps!
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So, as you might be aware, I’ve been thinking – again! – about the future of the pop polls. Caused by a combination of increased workload and a sense that the existing format of the polls wasn’t working well in their new home. Lots of you gave your feedback on this – thanks so much for all the input!

Here’s what’s going to happen next. Short version: The “Tournament” polls are going to move back to Twitter, though I’m going to start seriously investigating Twitter competitors too on the assumption that Twitter’s long-term future is not great. This site will host “League” polls which suit the strengths of the blog format and the site design. Read on for more details on both these things.


  1. We’re going to keep on doing the US No.1s Mini-Poll in addition to everything else, as it works well as a light, quick-results bonus and is really almost zero work.
  2. Next week we’ll start the CHARITY CRUSHER (ANCIENT) Qualifiers on Twitter. Those will run for 9 days.
  3. Either immediately after that or a week later if people need more time, it’s nominations day for Late Work. I’m going to aim for this and future polls to be smaller scale than before – probably around 200 tracks rather than the 300+ beasts we’ve been running. This might mean changes to the nominations system. We’ll do 2015 after Late Work.
  4. Not decided exactly which order we’ll do the R1s in, but at any rate I’ll get the Crushers out of the way before we do anything else.
  5. And then it’s on to Late Work.


  1. The first order of business is finishing the Modern Qualifiers – this might take a while to get some groups over the line, vote-wise.
  2. After that I’ll do Golden Beats for the Modern Qs and the relevant songs in the Curatorfest groups. These might work a bit differently from GBs of old. Or they might not.
  3. Then I’m going to open player slots for the first LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GOLDEN BEATS, which will be the main event on Roughly it’ll work like this:
    • 10-12 players (or teams) nominate a track each week on a theme, for a weekly 10-12 song playlist.
    • Each week’s theme is a previous People’s Pop Poll. eg covers, 1999, christmas, etc.
    • Everyone (players and spectators) votes for favourite tracks from the playlist using Golden Beat rules – you can’t vote for anything you already knew.
    • Points are allotted at the end of each round Eurovision style! The player who came last gets to choose the next open theme slot (so they can pick something they’ll do better in)
    • After 10 weeks the winner is crowned! And the top-scoring song of each player competes for the overall track crown.
    • The playlist, poll and scoreboard will all be sticky posts here to allow week-long conversation at a more gentle pace than Twitter permits.
  4. If that’s a success then we’ll do further “league” games.

BONUS PLAYLIST! 21st Covers 20th
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I made a playlist of all your excellent suggestions (that I could find) for a group on the theme “21st Century covers of 20th Century songs”. I’ll pick 4 of these with a headline group in mind – and avoiding stuff we’ve already had. But I thought all of them deserved collection really. Thank you!

Welcome Back My Friends To The Poll That Never Ends
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For the last few months the People’s Pop Polls have existed under the shadow of Elon Musk’s godawful new Twitter, and I’ve been promising an off-Twitter future on a new site.

That day has arrived!

We’re starting off the CHARITY CRUSHER POLLS today – tracks nominated via donation to two excellent charities, ActionAid and The Ruth Hayman Trust. I offered an option for people nominating four tracks to have them all in the same group, and we’re starting off with 13 of those CURATED GROUPS over three days.

There are likely to be all sorts of tweaks we make but the biggest changes to point out are these:

First, we’ve set up authentication by Twitter, so you should be able to log in, vote and comment easily.

Second, there’s now a link which takes you to ALL currently unfinished polls, which should make catching up very easy at any point.

Other than that, do let me know any issues, and we can work them out and get things running smoothly over the next few weeks. The Twitter account itself will stay active, linking to the polls and posting playlists (which will also be available here).

Happy polling!

The Discourse