Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2017 by Paul in Music
The chart for the week after Christmas is traditionally an oddity; the Christmas singles all disappear, a bunch of tracks getting year-in-review airplay rise to fill the void, and not much else goes on. This year, we have added wrinkle. When streaming data was added to the chart, it raised a new issue for the chart. Instead of just counting sales, there was now a subjective element: how to weight sales against streams? They went for 100 streams = 1 sale. Starting this week, that’s been changed to 150, which tilts the balance somewhat back in the direction of sales (though if streams keep growing, it won’t be long before we’re back where we started).
Is this a more refined view of the respective value of sales and streams (whatever “value” might mean in this context), or just an attempt to get some more movement into the chart, which was unusually sluggish in 2016? Probably the latter, because while the chart is officially there to measure popularity, its unspoken function is to serve as a publicity device; and to do that, it needs people to pay attention; and to get people to pay attention, it needs stuff to happen. But you can make a case that things had become imbalanced: tracks that were selling strongly but lacked streaming support were missing the top 40 altogether.
No. “Rockabye” spends its ninth week at number one, and what’s more, it’s there on the strength of streams. (In sales, it’s number 2 behind Rag’N’Bone Man.)
As it turns out, the impact of the re-weighting is more modest. A lack of streaming support is no longer fatal to a strong seller making the chart, but the world is not exactly turned upside down. There’s a bit of reshuffling of the tracks already in the upper reaches, but nothing worth going into detail with.
16. JP Cooper – “September Song”
This would have been a new entry anyway – it’s at 15 on sales and 26 on streaming. It’s a pleasant enough summer romance track, a bit bland on the arrangement, but above average. JP Cooper was the guest singer on Jonas Blue’s “Perfect Strangers”, which reached number 2 last year; this is his first solo hit. That’s the now familiar soft launch approach.
This has been out since October, and it’s been hovering in the 30s for six weeks. It now jumps from 38 to 17. That’s partially thanks to the re-weighting, but there’s a genuine post-Christmas surge here too: on the pure sales chart, it jumps from 20 to 12. On streaming, it’s just within the top 40.
This peaked at number 2 back in May, and left the top 40 at the start of December. Again, it’s experiencing a genuine end-of-year resurgence, presumably driven by the year-in-review playlists, which led it to re-enter at 39 last week. It now climbs eighteen places. Re-weighting is presumably a factor, since on the sales chart it’s at 19, and on streaming it’s at 30 (though that’s still a big increase from 58 the week before).
Hah, really? This is an extreme example of a sales-only hit. On the sales chart, it’s number 5, helped by an end of year surge. On the streaming chart, it’s somewhere outside the top 100. It managed a single week at number 33 on release in November, but the re-weighting gives it a second chance.
26. Starley – “Call On Me”
This has been available for streaming since November, hovering just outside the top 40, but it’s now available for sale and getting a proper promotional push. But it remains mainly a streaming hit; on that chart, it climbs from 43 to 21 this week, while on the sales chart it debuts at 35. Starley is an Australian singer-songwriter; in her home country, she was soft-launched with a guest spot on Odd Mob’s “Into You”, an Australian number one, but in the UK they’re going direct to the debut single.
This made number 34 last month and quickly vanished. Its resurgence is partly due to the re-weighting, but for some reason it does seem to have seen a big surge on streams this week too, enough to scrape back into the top 40.
33. Jax Jones & Raye – “You Don’t Know Me”
Now that’s a minimalist video. We haven’t had one of those in a while. Producer Jax Jones had a number 1 in 2014 when he was credited as a featured guest on Duke Dumont’s “I Got U” (a confusing credit which led a lot of people to assume he must be the singer). This has been out a few weeks but it does seem to be growing in both sales and streams; it would have made the top 40 on streams alone.
40. Adele – “Water Under The Bridge”
Curiously, more of a streaming hit. Rather more oddly, it’s actually outside the top 40 (just) in both sales and streaming, so it must have just scraped under the bar thanks having a more balanced audience than some of the tracks above in on either chart.
The album chart remains asleep for Christmas. “Glory Days” by Little Mix spends a fourth week at number one, surprising everyone who didn’t have them pegged as an albums act.