I was going to do a Watch With Father over the weekend but, well, I’ve been otherwise diverted. No matter! In these interesting times we need an oasis of stability, and the UK top 40 more than delivers.
Clinging on by a 5% margin over the number 2 single, it’s still here after eleven weeks at number 1. It is flagging in both sales and streams, but nothing else has come along to replace it yet. Even allowing for the general slowing of the chart in the streaming era, this is pretty amazing: only two records have ever had longer runs at number one, namely “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” by Bryan Adams (16 weeks in 1991) and “Love is all Around” by Wet Wet Wet (15 weeks in 1994). Since its notional total sale of 60,000 is the lowest for a number 1 single since October, this surely has to be it – doesn’t it?
9. Sigala featuring John Newman & Nile Rodgers – “Give Me Your Love”
And that’s ten weeks, matching “Umbrella” from 2007. “One Dance” was not number one in the midweeks, and it only held on by a relatively narrow margin – the equivalent of 178,000 streams, compared with its streaming total this week of 4.77 million. On a pure sales chart it would be number 9, but it’s the streaming data that matters these days.
That’s nine weeks. Just one more needed to match “Umbrella”‘s ten-week run from 2007. I’ve already explained why the change to streaming data, which has slowed down the charts generally, means that this isn’t strictly comparable, but it’s still impressive. If it does manage to match “Umbrella” – and the midweeks say it won’t, but you never know – then the next record in sight will be the epic 15 week run of Wet Wet Wet’s “Love Is All Around” in 1994. (more…)
Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 by Paul in Music
So, after a bit of experimenting, I’m thinking a better way of doing these things is to go back to doing them weekly and accepting that they’re going to be fairly short. Let’s try that for a bit and see how it goes. On this week’s singles chart…
Eight weeks at number one, the longest reign since “Umbrella”, but I’ve said before that these things aren’t entirely comparable, because adding streaming to the charts makes sustained replay appeal much more of a factor than it ever was in the past. On pure sales, this would be number 5 (and Justin Timberlake would be number 1). The top three has now been static for three weeks, with Timberlake and Calvin Harris in the other two slots. The era of stasis.
6. Clean Bandit featuring Louisa Johnson – “Tears”
Another month, and turnover isn’t exactly picking up. “One Dance” by Drake remains at number 1 for the whole month, a total of six weeks. That’s the longest run at number 1 since “Uptown Funk” at the start of 2015, and the longest uninterrupted run at number 1 since “Bleeding Love” in 2007. The next record in sight is “Umbrella”, which managed 10 weeks earlier that year.
Of course, this is not a direct comparison because of the shift to streaming data. “One Dance” still doesn’t have a video – which, incidentally, may work in its favour under UK chart rules, because only audio streaming services count towards the chart, and presumably a bunch of people who would otherwise be watching “One Dance” on YouTube are listening to it on Spotify instead. More to the point, it hasn’t been the top selling single for several weeks. It’s staying at number 1 because people are continuing to listen to it. And if the charts had always been based on sustained popularity rather than first week sales, one suspects we’d have had a lot more epic-running number ones over the last twenty years or so.
The charts of 2016 are a still pond into which a stone occasionally falls. This makes them fairly tedious to follow week to week, but at least the big stuff stands out. The Official Charts Company are well aware of this, and of the need to remind the public of the chart’s ostensible function as a barometer of public mood. So it didn’t take long after Prince died before the OCC put out an excitable announcement, which several papers dutifully parrotted, that he was on course to have a number 1 hit. Which he wasn’t, but we’ll come back to that.
First, this month’s actual number ones. “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner hung on for another couple of weeks, managing a total of four. And then we had “One Dance” by Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, which doesn’t have a video, so you’ll have to make do with Spotify.
It looks as if we’re deeply embedded in one of the slowest chart eras for years. The main reason for that, of course, is that the charts are increasingly determined by streaming data rather than sales. And while sales measure how many people were interested enough to buy a track in the first place, streaming data is more interested in how long they keep listening to it.
In many ways this is a good thing for the chart, because it puts an end to the days when you could engineer a number one by releasing your single in a quiet week and relying on fan base sales. In that sense, a chart position is arguably more meaningful than it’s been in quite some ways. But in other ways, it’s a problem, because there simply isn’t very much happening, which doesn’t greatly serve the chart’s other role of promotion.
So when we left off at the end of February, “7 Years” by Lukas Graham had been at number for three weeks. It went on to stay there for another two, so evidently this rather maudlin reflection on ageing has more appeal than I can comprehend. Perhaps it’s the video. Maybe it reminds people of Wayne’s World.
Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2016 by Paul in Music
Now, One Direction had a good run. Five albums over four years. That’s a decent lifespan for their ilk. But if you’re in a boy band, you should have an exit strategy. At some point, you stop being boys. And growing with the audience is easier said than done, because you tend to be the sort of thing the fans make a point of leaving behind as they get older. Look at Take That – consigned to the “vaguely embarrassing” file until the audience were old enough not to be so self-conscious about liking them.
And if you’re a member of One Direction, you probably noticed that the media long since established the conventional wisdom that, come the inevitable split, the successful one – the really A-list one – was Harry Styles. Good news for Harry Styles. Less thrilling for the other four.
Posted on Friday, January 29, 2016 by Paul in Music
Well, what an interesting month. I think this year we’ll loosen up the format and go a bit more freeform, yes? Alright.
So. We left off with the Christmas chart, and with the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir at number 1 with “A Bridge Over You”. Normal service was swiftly resumed as “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber, which had already been number one for three weeks, returned to the top for a further three. Admittedly, that’s during the normal early-January dead season for new releases. But since Bieber also had the immediately preceding number one (“Sorry”), the NHS Choir wind up as the sole week of respite in nine weeks of Justin Bieber.