analysis

Independent thinkers: Key players in the UK indie market discuss 2020

At this week’s AIM Awards, the indie music sector will honour its most innovative talents, but the celebrations come at a time of great strain. Music Week gathers a host of the biggest players – from Young Turks, Dirty Hit, ...

Charts analysis: Taylor Swift finishes ahead of Fontaines DC in albums battle

Looking for all the world as if it would follow in the footsteps of every other chart-topping Taylor Swift album and spend a solitary week at No.1, Folklore was lagging as of the first few midweek updates. Then EMI Records threw us all a curveball, announcing that the album's physical release (specifically the eight different CD editions) was to be brought forward three days. The first batch of D2C pre-orders were posted on Tuesday with copies delivered to stores at the same moment. Whatever the motivation, it worked: 8,830 physical copies of the album were registered last week, taking Folklore's weekly sale to 22,550 to ensure that it remains the No.1 album and does indeed become Swift's first record to retain its chart crown. You cannot help but feel for the act who would otherwise have been headline makers of their own. Irish post-punk rockers Fontaines DC are denied the chance to celebrate their first No.1 album with A Heroes Death and instead are "only" No.2, their one consolation being that their overall sale of 19,040 copies is more than double that of their closest contenders. They can also point to the fact that their album is easily the week's biggest physical seller, their 15,713 units far in excess of anyone else, Taylor Swift included. The album was written and recorded almost entirely during the group's extensive touring in support of their debut release Dogrel which charted at No.9 in April 2019 and has gone on to sell 51,178 copies to date. Eschewing the self-described "horror punk" of their 2017 debut, the second album from Southampton-based rockers Creeper weaves in a more eclectic mix of Bowie, goth and old-time rock and roll. Sex Death & The Infinite void is the second highest new entry of the week and takes the group into the Top 10 for the very first time, charting at No.5 with 6,620 copies to its name. Its predecessor Eternity In Your Arms could only reach No.18 just over three years ago and has 18,219 sales to its name to date.  Having paused her recording career to focus on motherhood and the production of a stage musical based on her previous works, Alanis Morissette makes her chart return this week with what is either her seventh or ninth studio album (depending which ones you count) and her first full release in eight years. Such Pretty Forks In The Road is an easy Top 10 record this week, debuting at No.8 (5,188 sales). It is her fourth Top 10 album in this country, her highest charting record since So Called Chaos also charted at No.8 in May 2004. The Psychedelic Furs is a name which hasn't featured in these pages for nigh on 30 years, 1991's World Outside the group's last studio release until today. The British group reunited for the first time back in 2000 but it has taken until now for Richard Butler to feel confident enough in his rediscovered songwriting ability for them to create any new material. Made Of Rain is officially the group's eighth studio album and is this week's No.13 record, selling 3,638 copies.  The merits of the more recent elements of Paul McCartney's solo catalogue are frequently the subject of some debate, but fans and critics alike are in agreement that 1997 release Flaming Pie is one of his last truly great studio albums. Now after a 19-month gap in releases, it becomes the latest album from his catalogue to get the Archive Collection treatment, re-issued in a lovingly curated deluxe edition now replete with demos, outtakes and other esoterica. Originally a No.2 record upon first release the album now lands back on the charts for the first time in almost exactly 23 years, entering this week at No.14 with 3,595 sales. Flaming Pie's total tally now stands at 181,540 to consolidate its position as McCartney's biggest selling album of the last 25 years. 2003 live album Back In The World is next in line with 175,191 to its name. German composer Max Richter has previously reached the pop charts on two occasions: Sleep in 2014 (a No.44 record) and with his 2017 project Three Worlds - Music From Woolf Works which sneaked in at No.70. This week Voices becomes his most successful chart entry to date. The project features contributions from what we are told is people from over 70 different countries, narrating every single word of the 1948 Universal Declaration Of Human Rights. In a curiously quiet week for new product, the album is the sixth and final new entry on the new chart, landing at No.26 (2,310 sales).  Albums sales overall stand at 1,797,771, a week-on-week decline of 2.14%. Physical sales actually slide a little this week, dipping 4.71% to 364,020 although their market share remains healthy at 20.25%. Click here for this week’s charts.

Charts analysis: Joel Corry & MNEK pull clear at singles summit

Now undisputedly one of the smash hit singles of the summer, Head & Heart by Joel Corry and MNEK this week takes its market domination to a brand new level. Spending a third week at the top of the charts the track stretches its legs still further, a 3.8% increase in sales taking its weekly total to 79,313 (72,876 of them via digital streaming). That's the fourth-highest weekly sale achieved by any single so far in 2020 The only single to make even an attempt at matching that total is Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo's Savage Love (Laxed - Siren Beat), which gamely holds steady at No.2 albeit with its sales sliding once more to 55,642. Its debut last week meant it felt like future No.1, but for the moment the numbers of Lighter by Nathan Dawe and KSI wobble slightly, the track slipping to 35,970. Despite this, it is still a climber, moving up a rung to No.3. The success of Lighter has had a curious knock-on effect on the streams of its immediate predecessor, Dawe's reworking of Flowers enjoying a notable turnaround to spring back to No.19 with 18,735 sales. The Top 5 is rounded off by Watermelon Sugar from Harry Styles, which rebounds to a new peak of No.4 (35,088 sales), and West Ten by AJ Tracey and Mabel which also enjoys a new peak, leaping four places to sit at No.5 (35,052 sales). It isn't the instantaneous chart-topper that her Bond theme No Time To Die was at the start of the year, but a brand new recording from Billie Eilish was always going to be the biggest deal of the week. My Future is the highest new entry of the week at No.7 (26,543 sales) to become the teenager's fifth Top 10 single in the last 18 months, the song another glowing example of her ability to wrestle with both melancholy and euphoria and deliver both simultaneously.  Three other singles refresh the Top 10 line-up this week although two of them are rebounds. Secrets by Regard & Raye charges to No.6 (29,331) to reach a brand new peak in what is now its 15th chart week. Greece by DJ Khaled and Drake is back to No.9 (25,832 sales) but after a fortnight at No.14 Go Crazy by Chris Brown and Young Thug is mobile again and climbs to No.10 (25,576 sales). It is Brown's 18th Top 10 hit single, his first in over a year, and the third for Young Thug. Exiting the Top 10 are perhaps inevitably the trio of Taylor Swift cuts: Cardigan at No.14, Exile at No.21 and The 1 at No.31. There's also a plunge for former No.1 single Rockstar, DaBaby and Roddy Rich crash 3-13 as the ACR axes finally swings.  Some weeks can go by when few of the Top 40 singles move anywhere, so it is good to note those occasions when several tracks are on the move in a positive direction. Originally a No.23 hit when it landed as a cut from Pop Smoke's album, Mood Swings has over the last couple of weeks taken on a TikTok-inspired life of its own and with a 55% jump in consumption to 20,620 the single now reaches a new peak of No16. Also pointing in the right direction and up to new peaks are Looking For Me by Paul Woodford, Diplo and Lomax (No.35, 12,836 sales) and Take You Dancing by Jason Derulo (No.46, 10,277 sales). Returning to the pile marked "intriguing" we find My Oasis, the third single of the release from Sam Smith, following up the Demi Lovato duet I'm Ready which topped out at No.20 back in May. The new single adds a vocal contribution from Burna Boy to the mix but for the moment makes an understated bow at No.43 (11,014 sales). It is Smith's 22nd hit and a sixth for Burna Boy, every single one of them so far as a featured appearance. Choirmaster and arranger Gareth Malone has been responsible for three No.1 singles in the last decade but takes a frustrating swing and a miss with his latest project. Perhaps bringing up the rear as far as lockdown projects are concerned, Gareth Malone's Great British Home Chorus is an assemblage of both amateur and professional singers, all recruited via online auditions, and whose performance of You Are My Sunshine lands this week at No.57 (7,796 sales). Dating from 1939, the song can lay claim to being one of the most recorded compositions of all time but this is extraordinarily the first ever version to become a British chart single.  There are also three further new entries this week. Tee for Jay 1 featuring Loski is No.65 with 70,47 sales, the seventh chart hit for the former. B Young and Tion Wayne collaboration Last Night enters at No.68 (6,832 sales) with Rari from Octavian featuring Future new at No.73 (6,319 sales). Singles sales continue their summertime plateau, down just 0.16% week on week to 21,174,129 to sit above the 21 million mark for the fourth week in a row. Paid sales are down 3.88% to 477,646, hovering below half a million also for the fourth week on the bounce.  Click here for this week’s charts.

Charts analysis: Joel Corry and MNEK extend lead at singles summit

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Charts analysis: Taylor Swift debuts at No.1 with digital-only Folklore

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Charts analysis: Joel Corry and MNEK surge to singles summit

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