The official UK singles chart is currently feeling the full force of streaming and playlists, with only eight songs managing to top the charts so far in 2016.
Music Week analysis of Official Charts Company data goes some way to confirming the perception that if you can make a splash on streaming playlists, you’ll take some shifting if you manage to top the chart. That’s certainly been the case with current chart toppers Chainsmokers (pictured), whose track Closer is now the fifth No.1 in a row to reign for a minimum of four weeks - the first such sequence in over 60 years.
Drake’s 15-week stranglehold on the charts earlier this year has clearly contributed to the diminutive number of No.1s in 2016 so far, with his track One Dance serving as a prime example of the power of streaming over the charts. During its 14th week at the top, the track sold just 44.11% more than the No.10 - the smallest differential in any of the 863 chart weeks that have elapsed so far in the 21st century, with just 22.24% (12,171) of its sales coming from paid-for purchases, and the rest from streams.
While we still have Q4 to look forward and, probably, a few more No.1s before the year is out, it’s likely that by 2016’s close we’ll have endured the most barren year for new chart toppers in recent years. Last year saw 18 tracks top the chart, while 29 tunes hit the top spot in 2014 and 21 topped the charts in 2013.
Drake and Chainsmokers aside, 2016 has so far seen Justin Bieber top the charts with Love Yourself, which was No.1 for three weeks; Shawn Mendes Stitches (two weeks); Zayn’s Pillowtalk (one week); Lukas Graham’s 7 Years (five weeks); Mike Posner’s I Took A Pill (four weeks); and Major Lazer feat. Justin Bieber and MO’s Cold Water (five weeks).
According to the Official Charts Midweek Sales Flash, 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur is on course to take the top spot on Friday. And if recent history is anything to go by, it’s likely he’ll be there for several weeks to come.