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Charts analysis: Lil Nas X claims second week at singles summit

Its chart sales surging by an impressive 36.6% week on week, Montero (Call Me By Your Name) spends a second week at the top of the singles chart for Lil Nas X. The single’s lead of 15,343 over the competition ...

Charts analysis: The Snuts edge out Demi Lovato for No.1

After a nervous end to the week, during which time they briefly surrendered the lead to Demi Lovato and after outright war threatened to break out between competing online fandoms, the relentless cheerleading of The Snuts paid off in the nick of time. By the small matter of just 272 sales the debut, WL, from the Scottish rockers is this week's No.1 album as they become the first act from north of the border to top the charts with their debut release since 2007. In common with almost every chart-topping album so far this year, sales of WL are overwhelmingly on disc, 15,962 physical sales helping them to a first week total of 20,455. Some commiserations them to Demi Lovato, whose army of fans were also highly invested in her chart fate. Dancing With The Devil ... The Art Of Starting Over is the American singer's rawest and most emotional work to date, its songs dealing with her journey of recovery from the well-documented personal and health issues which continue to affect her life. Lovato's seventh studio album is her fifth to chart in this country and now becomes far and away her biggest chart success, hitting No.2 with an equally impressive first week sale of 20,183 copies. Her biggest British seller to date is 2013's Demi, which has accumulated 188,831 sales to date.  Just behind Justin Bieber's Justice at No.3 (9,408 sales), are post-punks Dry Cleaning. The four-piece have captured attention thanks to their gimmick of having lead singer Florence Shaw narrate rather than sing their songs and that attention has proved to be more than sufficient to propel their debut album New Long Leg to No.4 with 7,203 sales to its name. The Top 5 is rounded off by the apparently evergreen Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa, announced this week by Official Charts as the biggest album of 2021 to date, as it adds a further 6,379 sales to take its cumulative total to 340,347 Home to chart smash Calling My Phone, Lil Tjay's second album proper Destined 2 Win becomes easily his biggest chart success to date as the fourth new entry inside the Top 10 at No.7 with 4,741 sales. Effectively a mini hits collection such is the enduring popularity of its tracks, Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album Rumours has been more or less a chart constant in the six years since streams began to be counted for the album chart. Its evergreen popularity has been further boosted by both the surge in "grey streaming" during lockdowns and the continuing virality of the track Dreams and that popularity this week hits a new high as Rumours charges to a streaming-era peak of No.8 (4,545 sales). It is the album’s first visit to the Top 10 since a deluxe reissue in February 2013 propelled it back into the Top 3. Rumours spends a 45th week as a Top 10 album in what is now its 689th week on the Top 75. In tandem Fleetwood Mac’s actual hits collection 50 Years - Don't Stop returns to the Top 10 for the first time since October last year as it bounces to No.6 (4,769 sales).  Fully 11 months later than originally scheduled, The Fratellis' sixth studio album Half Drunk Under A Full Moon finally emerges. Its 4,082 sales take it to No.12 meaning all but one of their releases to date has made the Top 20. A brace of live albums also enter this week, the way lead by Bryan Ferry's Live At The Royal Albert Hall 2020 at No.18 (2,944 sales). It is Ferry's first ever live release as a solo artist although he has made several in his capacity as the lead singer of Roxy Music, the first of those as long ago as 1976 when Viva! reached the Top 10. Just below at No.20 is the 11th posthumous live album from David Bowie, At The Kit Kat Club (Live New York 99) which notches up 2,825 sales.  The final new entry of the week is the cheekily self-censored G_d's Pee At States End!, the seventh studio release from Canadian art-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Their fifth album in all to reach the British charts it hands them their highest position to date, its No.29 (2,382 sales) eclipsing the No.34 scaled by Luciferian Towers in 2017. A 3.47% week on week decline takes album sales to 1,809,130. The holiday weekend is perhaps the reason that physical sales take a larger hit, falling fully 11.5% to 295,475 down once more to a mere 16.33% of the market. The impact of high street shops and record stores in particular reopening in England this Monday will be fascinating to observe. Subscribers can click here for all the latest charts.

Digital Discourse: Monetising fanbases

There has been so much going on in the digital landscape of late, many things have perhaps not had the attention they deserve. While the wars are very much raging in the streaming world, there is much-needed innovation taking place across some platforms in areas such as monetisation, not directly linked to rates per stream. These are often overlooked, but I believe they are things we should be pushing for across all DSPs. Outside of cash money, what these services have that we need is data and infrastructure. If used correctly and effectively these features have the potential to provide serious value far beyond what you would gain per stream. There’s a reason we all spend so much on advertising on these platforms, but they’re increasingly under fire and as a result are starting to roll out some brilliant tools that can be utilised as part of a successful marketing and monetisation plan. These incremental revenue streams are not only vital to the ever-evolving music industry landscape, but they play a crucial part in the future. Ignore them at your peril. It’s very easy to dismiss these tools as ways for platforms to get away without paying properly for content but that is, in my opinion, shortsighted and not always true. Sure, they’re making money from it but if you are, or you represent a creator, depending on your partner deal terms, they offer vast potential to increase your revenue and your connection with your fanbase. The opportunities that are emerging across the globe for digital monetisation of consumers on social networks and DSPs are limitless and some are already well established markets – including gaming – and widely adopted across Asia. The West is only just starting to understand the value here and it is applicable beyond the music business. Rather than dismissing these tools as simply a distraction from streaming rates, I would strongly advise artists and managers to view them as your chance to make (potentially quite serious amounts of ) money outside of your existing deals – as long as you have retained the right to do so. There are certainly labels who are after a bite of this cherry and some contractually have a right not only to that bite but the whole bowl. I’ve often touched on what I believe to be the best and most practical tools on the market, but here I’m going to have a little deep dive into one platform in particular and regular readers will know that they’re not usually top of my list... YouTube. Honestly, blink and you’ll miss the amount of things they’ve been up to lately. Many of us have long argued that the true potential for YouTube to monetise fanbases outside of ads and views was underdeveloped, and I have spent many nights drunk with friends from Google arguing about their lack of innovation in this space. So, let’s have a look at some of the things that they’re knocking out the park at the moment... YOUTUBE APPLAUSE This feature was announced recently and is currently in a very limited beta test, but YouTube plan to roll it out to all creators later in the year. Until now, fans have only really been able to – for want of a better word – tip a creator via Super Chat (more below). But that feature has been limited to livestreams. Applause will change that. Creators who are eligible for monetisation will be able to add this to their pre-recorded and uploaded content. When activated an “Applaud” button will be visible on the video, when clicked this gives the user an option to donate $2, $5, $10 or $50. YouTube takes 30% of the revenue from both this and Super Chat but creators take the rest. LIVESTREAMS ON THE GOOGLE SEARCH KNOWLEDGE GRAPH PANEL This is a great new feature. If you’re running a livestream and people head to Google to find it, the event will now show in the search Knowledge Graph panel (the info snapshots that appear on the right). It is lovely bit of SEO goodness. LIVESTREAM NOTIFICATIONS This is a really nice and overdue feature to make the most of bringing existing fans into the livestream experience. I’ve seen a few mock-ups of the functionality, but it is not online at time of writing. Anything that leads a fan to a livestream offers the potential to monetise further through other mechanics. SUPER CHAT AND SUPER STICKERS These are starting to see real uptake and can be a very lucrative addition to livestreams. Super Chat gives fans and artists a way to connect with one another during livestreams and premieres. Anybody watching can purchase a Super Chat, a highlighted message in the chat that stands out from the crowd, to get even more of their favourite artists’ attention. Fans will also be able to buy Super Stickers to connect with artists during eligible artists’ livestreams and premieres. CHANNEL MEMBERSHIPS Memberships viewers pay a monthly recurring fee to get unique badges, new emojis and access to unique custom perks offered by the channel, such as exclusive livestreams, extra videos, or shoutouts. YOUTUBE MERCH I was pained at how long it took for this feature to come to YouTube. We as an industry were shouting about it for a few years before it finally arrived, but it’s there now. You can now offer this fully integrated into livestreams already, and rumour has it they are looking to expand beyond just using Merchbar (I can hear the shouts of joy from here). Let’s hope those rumours are true.

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