Charts analysis: Tones And I breaks UK chart record for Aussie act

Topping the singles chart for the 15th straight week in her native Australia – where ACR is clearly not a thing – Dance Monkey is No.1 here for the seventh time in a row for Melbourne singer/songwriter Tones And I.  ...

Charts analysis: The Script score fifth No.1 album

In another week of heavy action but comparatively light sales, leadership of the chart change hands for the 12th week in a row, with 13 albums debuting inside the Top 75, spearheaded by Sunsets & Full Moons, the fifth No.1 from six releases in a little over eleven years for Irish band The Script. Home to their 11th Top 40 hit, The Last Time, consumption of Sunsets & Full Moons – at 31,946 units (including 2,192 from sales-equivalent streams) – surpasses the opening tally of The Script’s last album, Freedom Child, which was No.1 on consumption of 29,574 units in September 2017, but the first four albums by the Dublin trio sold upwards of 40,000 copies on debut. Their eponymous 2008 debut topped the chart on sales of 54,520, follow-up Science & Faith did likewise on sales of 70,816 in 2010. Third album, Number Three opened and peaked at number two on sales of 52,878 in 2012 and No Sound Without Silence sold 42,546 copies as it opened atop the list in 2014. The all-time sales of their albums are in the same order as their release, with The Script selling 1,318,492 copies to date, followed by Science & Faith (812,634), Number 3 (629,206), No Sound Without Silence (371,594) and Freedom Child (114,214).  The Script are the fourth Irish band in chart history to have five No.1 albums, joining U2 (10), Westlife (seven) and Boyzone (five). Westlife could dethrone The Script and increase their tally to eight with new album Spectrum, which was released on Friday (15th). In Ireland itself, The Script have a perfect score of six No.1 albums from as many releases, trailing U2 (12) and Westlife (10) but leading Boyzone (4).   While Aled Jones & Russell Watson’s second set of duets, Back In Harmony, recedes 7-13 (5,018 sales), Michael Ball & Alfie Boe’s third collaboration, Back Together opens at No.2 on consumption of 24,951 units. They previously teamed for 2016’s Together and 2017’s Together Again, both of which topped the chart, and which have combined consumption of more than a million copies. Together sold 44,860 copies in debuting at No.2, and reached No.1 five weeks later, while Together Again sold slightly fewer on debut - 43,795 – at No.1. Back Together provides 57-year-old Ball, from Worcestershire, with his 24th chart album and his 10th Top 10 entry since 1992, arriving just 33 weeks after his most recent solo album – Coming Home To You – opened at No.1 on sales of 18,039 copies. It is the 10th Top 75 entry and the eighth Top 10 album for 46-year-old Boe from Lancashire, who made his chart debut in 2007.     With three new songs, and new versions of 13 of their hits and most popular album tracks, Reworked is Snow Patrol’s seventh consecutive top three album, debuting at No.3 on consumption of 23,650 units. It is more than 34 years since Simply Red released their first studio album, Picture Book, and they maintain their record of never missing the Top 10, with 12th set, Blue Eyed Soul – a collection of new songs penned by their 59-year-old frontman Mick Hucknall – debuting at No.6 (9,772 sales). Including compilations, it is their 14th Top 10 album and 17th chart album in all. Hucknall has also released two solo albums, one of which made the Top 10.     Five weeks after debuting at No.16 on digital sales and streaming, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Ghosteen has been released physically, and re-enters at a new peak of No.4 (15,135 sales), becoming their sixth Top 10 entry. No.1 on debut 36 weeks ago, What A Time To Be Alive is back in the Top 10 for the first time in 26 weeks for Tom Walker, surging 67-9 (8,980 sales) following the release of a deluxe edition. With to-date consumption of 216,933 copies, it is the ninth biggest artist album of 2019, and the second biggest by a new act, trailing only Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent, which falls to the lowest position of its 26-week chart tenure this week, declining 4-8 (9,640 sales), ahead of the release of its new extended edition on 22 November.  No.1 last week, From Out Of Nowhere now falls to No.7 (9,721 sales) for Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra. Completing the Top 10, Ed Sheeran’s No.6 Collaborations Project falls 3-5 (10,728 sales), and Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding dips 8-10 (6,897 sales).   Exiting the Top 10: Revenge Is Sweet (5-16, 4,503 sales) by Krept & Konan, Kiwanuka (2-17, 4,485 sales) by Michael Kiwanuka, Jesus Is King (9-29, 3,512 sales) by Kanye West, Kind (10-30, 3,481 sales) by Stereophonics and Travelin’ Through: The Bootleg Series Volume 15 (6-100, 1,269 sales) by Bob Dylan. The romantic comedy Last Christmas has been the subject of mixed reviews but its soundtrack album opens at No.11 (6,692 sales) ahead of its theatrical release (November 22). Named after Wham!’s iconic 1984 hit, its soundtrack album consists entirely of songs by said act and George Michael solo material, including the previously unreleased This Is How (We Want You To Get High)  Adding some tracks to the standard version of Si and Si (Deluxe) and subtracting others, Si Forever is categorized as a new Andrea Bocelli album by OCC and, as such, is his 21st Top 40 album, debuting at No.22 (3,880 sales), a year and two weeks after Si debuted at No.1 (25,829 sales). Also new to the chart: Magdalene (No.21, 3,925 sales), the second album by singer/songwriter FKA Twigs, whose 2014 debut, LP1, peaked at No.16 and has sold 47,764 copies; What You See Is What You Get (No.27, 3,810 sales), the second studio album by 29-year-old country singer Luke Combs, whose 2017 debut, This One’s For You, peaked at No.198; Gold (No.41, 2,718 sales), the 19th chart album by Michael Bolton; Certified Hitmaker (No.67, 1,746 sales), the second album by 17-year-old Washington rapper Lil Mosey, whose 2018 debut Northsbest peaked at No.189; BK25 (No.71, 1,624 sales), the 10th chart album (including one as part of Leading Ladies) for UK soul singer Beverley Knight, and a celebration of her 25 years as a recording artist; Past Tense: The Best Of Sparks (No.73, 1,598 sales), a career-encompassing compilation from Ron & Russell Mael, whose previous eight chart albums (including one as FFS) were regular studio sets; and Music For Healing (No.75, 1,580 sales), the third chart album for Gareth Malone. A week after Now That’s What I Call Music! 103 completed a 15-week run atop the compilation chart, Now! 104 opens its account at the summit. With just two No.1s – including the current Tones And I hit – its 42 tracks include five from 1984, and a further five that have yet to chart, including Westlife’s Dynamite and Haim’s Summer Girl. Its first week sales of 40,013 copies are the lowest of 78 regular Now! albums released since Kantar Millward Brown started compiling the chart for the OCC more than 25 years ago, replacing Now! 103, which sold 56,058 copies on debut in July.    Overall album sales are up 8.15% week-on-week at 1,939,450, 1.03% below same week 2018 sales of 1,959,596. Sales-equivalent streams accounted for 1,188,817 sales, 61.30% of the total. Sales of paid-for albums are up 20.23% week-on-week at 750,633, 19.21% below same week 2018 sales of 929,104. 

'Tis already the season: Why the music biz can't afford to wait for Christmas

“It’s tiiiime!” trilled Mariah Carey in an amusing viral video that saw the pop legend going into Christmas mode the second the clock ticked over from October into November. It was a joke, albeit one designed to promote Carey’s (by now traditional) festive tour and Merry Christmas deluxe edition. But all the evidence suggests that – as with the sale of mince pies and the arrival of editorial letters about festive streaming – Christmas music is becoming a thing much sooner than it ever used to. As I write, Mariah's All I Want For Christmas Is You is mid-weeking at No.78 and there are still 42 days until the big day. That's a long time for Ms Carey to "keep on waiting underneath the mistletoe". Radio used to follow a pretty strict, no-festive-hits-before-December-1 policy but with the rise of the DSPs, no such restrictions apply. And, with Christmas streaming now big business – Music Week’s research last year revealed a 51% increase in streams of Christmas tracks in 2018, significantly out-performing the market – and labels still wrestling with how to get their songs played when Alexa is asked to play Christmas music, no one is in the mood to wait. Although the market is crying out for some fresh Christmas classics, it’s also the one area of the tracks market where newer doesn’t necessarily mean better. Which means every year gives the industry a chance to push more forgotten tracks from its dusty catalogues, while you could easily get trampled in the rush of big names keen to record a few classics for a Christmas Album or simply a streaming boost in order to keep those monthly listener numbers up over December.  With the stakes getting ever higher, it will be interesting to see how the industry approaches the festive streaming market this year. You can expect to see more frontline tactics applied to old songs, while the advertising sync battleground – so vital for festive song (re)discovery – is already looking more competitive than ever (Mariah’s been quick off the mark there as well, already bagging a prime Walkers spot for herself). Competing with Carey to be Queen Of Christmas might prove difficult. But if you’re going to do it, the one thing you can’t do is wait. Christmas is coming early, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it...

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