Mariah Carey may already be No.1 in the singles chart, but there’s still over a week to go until the coveted Christmas chart-topper is officially revealed.
Just to make it interesting, the No.1 single will actually be announced on December 25 this year. And what could be even more unusual this time around is that a streaming exclusive is one of the hot contenders.
Jess Glynne’s cover of This Christmas (Atlantic) is only available to Amazon Music users (both paying subscribers and Amazon Prime members), alongside the video on YouTube. Even ahead of Glynne’s climb to the Top 5 in the latest Midweek sales flash, her Amazon Original had racked up more than 5.1 million streams in the UK alone.
“Fans of Donny Hathaway’s 1970 original recording of This Christmas would likely argue it’s a classic and we’re pleased to be able to remind listeners of that fact,” said Patrick Clifton, head of music, UK at Amazon Music.
Crucially, as a new recording, Jess Glynne’s Christmas song is not subject to the Official Charts Company’s ACR status for catalogue tracks. In effect, it means that festive favourites from Mariah Carey, Wham! and The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl have to stream double the amount of Glynne’s Amazon Original in order to register the same chart ‘sales’.
According to Midweek sales, Jess Glynne’s This Christmas is the only single in the Top 10 to register week-on-week growth this week. Band Aid’s classic Do They Know It’s Christmas is flat in sales terms, while every other festive song is down week-on-week.
So could Jess Glynne end up as the Christmas No.1?
“We’ve had a good start, and all the work Jess and her label are doing to promote the track on TV and radio can only help,” said Clifton. “But, as always, the race to the Christmas No. 1 is anybody’s guess right up to the last minute.”
Jess Glynne already has strong form as a chart-topping artist. In 2018, she broke the record for UK female artists after securing a seventh No.1. But to reach the summit again, she will have to out-stream Taylor Swift’s new single Willow, as well as her festive rivals (including late No.1 contenders from LadBaby and Justin Bieber and the NHS Choir, both released on December 18).
Other Amazon Original festive songs have made an impact this month, including Justin Bieber (again) with his cover of Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (No.10 in the Midweek chart), Jamie Cullum’s In The Bleak Midwinter (No.62) and Carrie Underwood’s new festive composition, Favourite Time Of Year (No.84).
Clifton said the line-up was designed to appeal to fans across genres.
“Our ambition with all our Amazon Holiday Originals is to introduce fans to new Christmas music as well as timeless classics,” said Clifton. “We are tremendously proud to have fantastic artists such as Jess on board this year and look forward to seeing how our Originals continue to resonate with listeners.
“The festive line-up has evolved significantly over the last couple of years, and we’re really pleased that we can keep bringing our listeners great new music they can’t find anywhere else. It’s such an important time of year – and this year, more than ever, it feels like we need to play our part with delivering a bit of Christmas cheer.”
While Jess Glynne’s This Christmas is not on rival audio streaming services, the video is available on YouTube. It’s an identical strategy to that which helped Ellie Goulding secure a post-Christmas No.1 in 2019 with her Amazon Original cover of River by Joni Mitchell (237,329 sales to date).
Katy Perry made No.22 with her Amazon Original Cozy Little Christmas in 2018 (165,018 sales to date – Official Charts Company).
“The chart success we saw with Katy Perry and Ellie Goulding has set the bar high for this year,” said Clifton. “It’s very encouraging to see the performance so far of the new Original tracks from Justin Bieber, Jess Glynne, Jamie Cullum and more.”
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