Germany's most successful comedian Mario Barth has failed in his attempts to have his latest Sony Music release "Männer Sind Peinlich, Frauen Manchmal Auch" ("Men are embarrassing but so are women sometimes") moved from the comedy chart to the music album chart, compiled by Media Control in Baden-Baden.

In addition to his comedy CD, the double album also includes a second CD containing meditation music. In this way, he sought to comply with the criteria for inclusion in the albums chart, which specifies that at least 50% of the album must comprise music. A bonus CD is not accepted.

Yet, a board meeting of the German Federal Music Industry Association determined that the top-selling album did not qualify for inclusion in the albums chart. Instead, Mario Barth must contend with No. 1 position on the comedy chart. This is particularly annoying for Barth as all the main record companies use the albums chart as a basis for planning their purchasing volumes.

Speaking in Munich, Edgar Berger, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria), said: "Mario Barth's current release achieved the highest sales during the applicable period and would have ranked No. 1 on the albums chart. For this reason, Sony Music is at a loss to understand this decision especially as comedians are listed in the standard US and U.K. charts on the basis of their sales. We do not understand why this is not also possible in Germany. A little more humor would not go astray in Germany."

Retailers are puzzled by the decision to exclude Mario Barth's latest album from the charts. Says purchaser Jörg Jahnke, of the Karstadt department store in Hamburg, "I don't think it's fair. Why should Barth not have the same chance as the others? In the past, other comedians have been included in the albums chart."

Adds music department head Wolfgang Ferch, from chain store Saturn in Berlin, "We have our own Saturn charts on which Mario Barth is in No. 1 position."

Josef Pohl from the Media Markt chain in Landshut adds: "I don't think it's fair and it doesn't make any sense."

Stefan Michalk, managing director of trade body BVMI, explains the omission. "It is difficult for consumers to understand why word-based products such as comedy should be included in music charts," he says. "This is why we created a separate comedy chart last year. Although the attempt to enter the albums chart by including a bonus CD with mediation music is to be expected of a comedian of Mario Barth's caliber, it is still ultimately in breach of the applicable roles."

Mario Barth comments: "I think that it's a pity that there is still discrimination against comedy in Germany. We are part of pop culture and are still banished from the normal charts even if our CDs comply with the listing rules. What's next? Perhaps Michael Jackson will be excluded as there is a rule saying that the artists must still be alive, or the Beatles, as another rule says that the bands must still be performing together. One thing is certain, the masters of the charts have shown that they do not have a sense of humor."

Mario Barth previously caused a commotion in 2007 when his album hit No. 1 position amidst considerable protest. Dramatico label head Mike Batt complained that Katie Melua had been prevented from reaching the No. 1 position in the Top 100 Longplay Chart, as Mario Barth occupied the position with a CD which did not contain any music. "It's a music chart," Batt said at the time. "If they want a chart for comedy then they should introduce it. Are we now also going to let vegetables into the charts? If so, we may well lose the No. 1 position to a sack of potatoes."

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