analysis

How Team George Ezra built up the UK's newest arena headliner

George Ezra had the time of his life on the live circuit in 2018 – and the stages just keep on getting bigger. Summer headline slots at Boardmasters and Standon Calling gave way to a sold-out UK tour last month, ...

Charts analysis: Ariana Grande scores sixth week at singles summit

In an unchanged top three that consists entirely of female American soloists in their mid-twenties, Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next racks up its sixth straight week at No.1 on sales of 58,450 copies (including 53,754 from sales-equivalent streams). The last single by a US female soloist to spend longer at No.1 was Cher’s Believe, which endured for seven weeks in 1998. Thank U, Next’s latest triumph comes in the week when two songs by Grande top the million mark on overall consumption. They are 2016 No.14 hit Into You and No Tears Left To Cry, which reached No.2 in June. Into You ends the week on 1,001,914 sales, while No Tears Left To Cry is on 1,001,261. They are the third and fourth Grande singles to reach seven figures, following 2014 No.2 hit One Last Time (1,428,631 sales) and 2016 No.4 hit Side To Side (feat. Nicki Minaj, 1,102,132 sales). 242 tracks have had consumption of more than 1m units in the 2010s, but only 40 of them achieved paid-for sales of a million. The one with the lowest paid-for sales/consumption ratio is J Hus’ 2017 No.9 hit Did You See, which has consumption of 1,085,878 units but paid-for sales of just 82,423. The track to secure the highest tally of sales-equivalent streams is Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, which has total consumption of 4,030,188 units, of which 829,887 are paid-for sales. Still in prime position to top the chart next week and thus become the Christmas No.1, Thank U, Next nevertheless suffers a 30.14% dip in sales week-on-week, with Ava Max’s Sweet But Psycho (2-2, 49,708 sales) and Halsey’s Without Me (3-3, 36,622 sales) reducing their arrears. Thank U, Next’s advantage is entirely down to streaming – its paid-for sales of 4,694 in the week were exceeded by five other songs, with the top title on this metric being Nothing Breaks Like A Heart, Mark Ronson’s collaboration with Miley Cyrus, which dashes 10-4 with total consumption of 34,198 units including 11,133 paid-for sales. It is Ronson’s fifth top five single as an artist, Cyrus’ fourth. Although ACR has halved the value of their sales-equivalent streams compared to a year ago, Christmas-related songs decorate the chart in impressive quantities yet again. Twenty-four of them appear in the Top 75 this week, with 13 of them in the Top 40 and three in the Top 10, namely Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You (6-5, 31,528 sales), Wham!’s Last Christmas (14-7, 27,306 sales) and The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl, 18-10, 23,618 sales). No.2 when first released in 1994, All I Want.. is on its fifth run in the Top 10, including the last three years in a row. No.2 on release in 1984, Last Christmas is on its fourth run in the Top 10, also including the last three years. No.2 on release in 1987, Fairytale… is on its sixth run in the Top 10, including the last two years. If ACR had not been introduced earlier this year, 18 of the Top 40 this week would be seasonal songs, and All I Want For Christmas Is You would be No.1 for the first time ever on consumption of 59,503 units.  Top 10 tracks not mentioned hitherto: Thursday (5-6, 29,400 sales) by Jess Glynne, Woman Like Me (7-8, 25,738 sales) by Little Mix feat. Nicki Minaj and Post Malone’s Sunflower (feat. Swae Lee), which dipped 9-16 last week and now bounces back to No.9, even though its sales are off marginally at 23,865. Both of James Arthur’s Top 10 entries from last week now depart the top tier. His Rewrite The Stars collaboration with Anne-Marie slips 8-11 (23,090 sales), while X Factor winner Dalton Harris’ coronation single The Power Of Love (feat. James Arthur) slides 4-19 (17,662 sales). Also leaving the Top 10: 6ix9ine’s Kika (feat. Tory Lanez) (9-18, 17,876 sales).  The only new entries to the Top 75 are tracks from slain rapper Xxxtentacion’s posthumous Skins album. Almost entirely fueled by streaming (their combined paid-for sales are 685), they are: Whoa (Mind In Awe) (No.37, 14,322 sales), Bad (No.41, 13,287 sales) and Guardian Angel (No.44, 13,122 sales).  Four other tracks from the album are ‘starred-out’ of the Top 75. There are new peaks for Close To Me (21-17, 18,317 sales) by Ellie Goulding x Diplo feat. Swae Lee and Baby (25-24, 16,719 sales) by Clean Bandit feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi. While streaming drove the new million sales achievements of Ariana Grande (see above), there’s a bona-fide million seller in the form of Mr. Brightside by The Killers. The 2004 No.10 hit was announced as a million seller by the OCC on Friday (14), though it actually reached the target 17 weeks ago. The track is the 177th million seller on paid-for sales of 1,006,784 to date – that tally ballooning to 2,334,353 when stream-equivalent sales are added. Overall singles sales are up 0.15 week-on-week at 17,514,641, 17.32% above same week 2017 sales of 14,928,411. Paid-for sales are down 11.92% week-on-week at 790,057, and are 20.30% below same week 2017 sales of 991,290. They are below same-week, previous-year sales for the 280th week in a row. 

Charts analysis: Encore for The Greatest Showman

The album jumped 39-4 in the first week of 2018, and has remained in the top five ever since. Its return to the apex kickstarts its sixth tour of duty at the summit, and raises its cumulative weeks at No.1 to 22 – one less than the 21st century record of 23 weeks set by Adele’s 21 in 2011/12. After starting 2018 with cumulative sales of 7,021 copies from three weeks on release, The Greatest Showman’s consumption has risen to 1,498,993 units (including 506,664 from sales-equivalent streams). No.2 for the year, George Ezra’s Staying At Tamara’s is also No.2 for the week, climbing from No.4 to secure its highest chart position for 25 weeks, and its highest sale (40,558) since it opened 37 weeks ago at No.1 on sales of 62,564 copies. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra score their third Top 10 album in as many weeks, and The Carpenters their first since 2016 as Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra debuts at No.8 (25,006 sales). The Carpenters’ 11th Top 10 album in all, it blends their original recordings with newly-recorded instrumental elements from the celebrated orchestra, whose Unchained Melodies collaboration with Roy Orbison made the Top 10 a fortnight ago, and now reaches a new peak (6-4, 37,424 sales) while their True Love Ways collaboration with Buddy Holly, which made the Top 10 last week, now slips 10-17 (20,613 sales). The rest of the Top 10: Love (3-3, 39,647 sales) by Michael Buble, Odyssey (5-5, 29,424 sales) by Take That, Si (9-6, 26,875 sales) by Andre Bocelli, Christmas (7-7, 25,956 sales) by Michael Buble, Bohemian Rhapsody (8-9, 24,853 sales) by Queen and LM5 (11-10, 23,579 sales) by Little Mix.  After debuting at No.1 last week, The 1975’s third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships makes a huge retreat, slumping to No.33 (8,916 sales). It is the second biggest dive from No.1 in chart history, after the 1-35 suffered by The Vamps Night & Day in July 2017.  Coldplay have an unbroken run of seven straight No.1 studio albums dating back to their 2000 debut Parachutes but fall just short of the Top 10 with their new Live In Buenos Aires set (No.15, 22,097 sales), which was actually recorded not in the Argentinian capital of that name but at La Plata in the province of that name, some 60km away. Dutch violinist, conductor and orchestra leader Andre Rieu & The Johann Strauss Orchestra’s latest collection of tunes, Romantic Moments II, debuts at No.22 (12,178 sales). Dubbed the “world’s first classical superstar” and “the king of the waltz”, 69 year old Rieu has now had 18 Top 50 albums - all since the age of 60 - and 31 Top 200 albums. The Kidz Bop Kids franchise scores its fourth Top 75 album with Kidz Bop 2019 (No.28, 11,138 sales). Xxxtentacion scores his third chart album in all, and his first since his death in June, with Skins. Following on from 2017 debut 17, which reached No.11, and March release ?, which reached No.3, Skins opens at a more lowly No.29 (10,969 sales). It is one of the chart’s shortest-ever entries - its 10 tracks have a combined playing time of less than 20 minutes. Veteran singer/songwriter Van Morrison scores his second chart album of the year and 47th of his career, with The Prophet Speaks (No.40, 6,696 sales). His 40th studio album, it includes his take on songs originally recorded by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke alongside six originals. The 73 year old from Belfast reached No.20 in May with You’re Driving Me Crazy, a collaboration with US jazz keyboards player Joey DeFrancesco. No.1 for three weeks when first released in 1998, Manic Street Preachers’ fifth studio album This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours is newly released in an expanded collectors’ edition, and is back on the chart for the first time since 2000, re-entering at No.55 (4,194 sales). Now That’s What I Call Music! 101 tops the compilation chart for the third time on sales of 48,642 copies. Its runner-up throughout is The Greatest Showman Reimagined, which chalked up its highest weekly sale of 27,150 copies in the latest frame. Overall album sales are up for the eighth week in a row, climbing 5.35% week-on-week to 2,948,283, 6.09% below same week 2017 sales of 3,139,541. Sales-equivalent streams accounted for 1,099,503 sales, 37.29% of the total. Sales of paid-for albums are up 8.83% week-on-week at 1,848,780, 18.88% below same week 2017 sales of 2,279,052.

Airplay analysis: Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus surge to No.1

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Charts analysis: Ariana Grande breaks streaming records

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Charts analysis: The 1975 do the hat-trick at albums summit

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