Form an orderly Q1: four first look takeaways from the Q1 sales figures

Form an orderly Q1: four first look takeaways from the Q1 sales figures

The Official Charts Company Q1 sales flash has arrived, and were a simple, three-word headline needed to sum it up, one could be forgiven on settling on the words ‘Ed’, ‘Sheeran’ and ‘wins’.

Yes, the singer’s third album ÷, released on March 3 (and doesn’t that already feel like a long time ago?) is lording it over every other release in the albums chart, and tracks from it pepper the singles list.

We knew it would be big – cast your mind back to the time we polled a group of music biz luminaries on just how many they thought ÷ would sell – but did we know it would be quite so huge?

And did we anticipate debuts from Rag’N’Bone Man and Stormzy doing quite so well? Did anyone forecast the impact film soundtracks would have on the albums chart? And did we think we were done with 2016? Because, clearly, we are not.

With all that in mind, here are four first-look takeaways from the Q1 big-sellers…

Sheer madness

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. According to Official Charts Company data, Ed Sheeran’s third record has now sold 1,378,663 copies to date, with 885,667 physical and 279,883 downloads. Given that no one sold a million records in the whole of 2016, that’s not bad at all. The Suffolk behemoth also has two of the quarter’s Top 3 albums, with X at No.3 on 141,293 sales. The same artist’s + is at No.13, having shifted 83,648 units. In the singles list, he’s behind three of the Top 10, with Galway Girl (No.7, 444,590 sales) joining the now massive Shape Of You (No.1, 1,811,910 sales) and Castle On The Hill (No.2, 1,143,632 sales). Beyond that, he has seven tracks in the Top 40, with ÷’s lowest-ranked track Save Myself (112,166 sales) appearing at No.87.

Scoring on their debuts

Big goal bonuses for Stormzy and Rag’N’Bone Man this quarter, as their debut albums both hit No.1 in style. Rag’N’Bone Man broke records with Human (No.2, 393,853 sales), while Stormzy branded grime onto mainstream consciousness with Gang Signs & Prayer (No.5, 129,274 sales). And all that after the fuss last year, when debut albums from acts such as Jack Garratt and Zayn fell far short of those platinum and gold figures (and still do today). Sceptics will crow, no crisis do two breakthrough albums end, but stuff them, these artists should be basking in the glory of their achievements.

OST FTW

Have you seen La La Land, Trolls, Moana or Beauty And The Beast at the pictures? Even if you haven’t, there’s a good chance you’ll know at least one song from their soundtracks. In the albums chart, all four stick out like stray bits of popcorn on a freshly-hoovered cinema foyer carpet. With 97,804 sales to date, La La Land’s is the ninth biggest-selling album of the quarter, ahead of new chart-topping releases from The xx and Elbow. Trolls (No.17, 73817 sales) is nestled above James Arthur’s Back From The Edge, Moana (No.21 58,051 sales) sits above The Rolling Stones’ Blue And Lonesome, while Beauty And The Beast is at No.41 on 31,287 sales. 

Last year lives on 

The Top 10 of both the singles and albums charts contain six releases from 2017, with the other four coming from the halcyon days of last year and beyond. While that may not be too worrying given that it’s only Q1, it’s worth keeping tabs on. Little Mix’s Touch, released in November, occupies No.5 spot in the singles list, having shifted 515,023 units this year. And remember Rockabye by Clean Bandit? Course you do. That’s sold 462,021 copies in 2017 so far. And yes, that’s JP Cooper’s September Song (released last September) at No.10 on 427,148 sales.

In the albums chart, Adele’s 25 sits (obviously, for it had to be somewhere up there) at No.10, having sold 93,963 copies. Above it are Pete Tong’s Classic House (No.7, 102,003 sales), Little Mix’s Glory Days (No.4 135,873 sales) and Sheeran’s X, which we’ve dealt with already. With Katy Perry, Lorde, Taylor Swift and more to come, it remains to be seen who, if anyone, will be able to push them out.

Drizzy does it? 

Which brings us neatly onto Drake, whose More Life record is already at No.8 for the year on 99,866 sales. And the physical release - not to mention another three quarters and a load more singles - are still to come. Don’t bet against it climbing even higher, of all the big guns up there in the albums list, the Canadian could be one to watch.

See the full Top 10 singles and albums charts below and pick up next week’s edition of Music Week for full Q1 analysis.

SINGLES: 

POS

 TITLE

ARTIST

CHART PEAK

1

SHAPE OF YOU

ED SHEERAN

1

2

CASTLE ON THE HILL

ED SHEERAN

2

3

HUMAN

RAG'N'BONE MAN

2

4

YOU DON'T KNOW ME

JAX JONES FT RAYE

3

5

TOUCH

LITTLE MIX

4

6

ROCKABYE

CLEAN BANDIT

1

7

GALWAY GIRL

ED SHEERAN

2

8

CALL ON ME

STARLEY

6

9

PARIS

CHAINSMOKERS

5

10

SEPTEMBER SONG

JP COOPER

7

 
ALBUMS:
 

POS

 TITLE

ARTIST

CHART PEAK

1

DIVIDE

ED SHEERAN

1

2

HUMAN

RAG'N'BONE MAN

1

3

X

ED SHEERAN

1

4

GLORY DAYS

LITTLE MIX

1

5

GANG SIGNS & PRAYER

STORMZY

1

6

WONDERLAND

TAKE THAT

2

7

CLASSIC HOUSE

PETE TONG/HERITAGE OR/BUCKLEY

1

8

MORE LIFE

DRAKE

2

9

LA LA LAND

MOTION PICTURE CAST RECORDING

1

10

25

ADELE

1

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