analysis

Charts analysis: Headie One is No.1 - rapper tops UK Albums charts with full-length debut Edna

For the ninth week in a row, we have a new album at the top of the charts. Headie One has previously reached the albums chart four times with a variety of mixtapes and collaborative EPs, but his debut full-length ...

Charts analysis: 24KGoldn makes it four weeks at the top

Another weekly sale of 48,886 chart sales (just 1,498 of them paid downloads) is enough to ensure Mood by 24KGoldn and Iann Dior is top of the British charts for a fourth straight week, although that is by any standards a rather limp sale, the lowest for at No.1 single for 22 weeks and the second smallest total for a No.1 single this year. Accelerated decline looms for the track next week too, meaning we are all but certain to see a changing of the guard next week. The undoubted streaming king of the week is British rapper Headie One. His debut album Edna is top of its own chart by a comfortable margin and its component tracks are scattered liberally around the singles listing. Leading the way is existing hit Ain’t It Different, which features guest stars AJ Tracey and Stormzy and is duly boosted to a brand new peak of No.2 (40,648 sales), giving Tracey the biggest chart hit of his career to date after a brace of No.3 singles. Headie One also has the highest new entry of the week with Princess Cuts (No.11, 24,327 sales) and Parlez-Vous Anglais (No.24, 14,654 sales), which are his 13th and 14th chart hits respectively. A further 14 cuts from Edna enjoyed enough streams to theoretically qualify for Top 75 places but are starred-out by the singles chart’s own rule of three. Back in the Top 10, and Lemonade holds firm at No.3 for Internet Money & Gunna, despite declining in sales for the first time to 36,755. Paul Woolford, Diplo and Kareen Lomax return to No.4 with Looking For Me (32,004 sales) while Tate McRae’s beguiling You Broke Me First reaches a brand new peak at No.5 (28,829 sales). There are also new peaks for Midnight Sky by Miley Cyrus (No.6, 28,245 sales) and What You Know Bout Love by Pop Smoke (No.7, 27,281 sales). After a week away, Justin Bieber’s Holy returns to No.10 (24,525 sales), the same position it has occupied for three of the last four weeks. The one rap star without an album out this week, Dutchavelli makes do with his seventh chart entry and indeed his biggest hit to date as a lead artist, as Cool With Me slides in at No.29 (13,482 sales). It is also the third hit and biggest chart success to date for co-star M1llionz, eclipsing the No.39 scaled by his debut B1llionz in July. D-Block Europe do have an album of their own, and this week’s No.2 collection The Blue Print – Us Vs Them also spawns a slew of heavily-streamed singles. Existing cut UFO actually goes into reverse at No.14 (22,472 sales) but they are also new at No.34 with Destiny (11,569 sales) and No.55 with Proud (7,876 sales). The rule of three puts paid to the prospects of several more: Birds Are Chirping just missing the cut, its 7,643 sales would have meant it charted one place behind Proud. A month shy of his 30th birthday, former teen prodigy Chip enjoys his first hit single as a solo act since 2018 as Flowers blooms at No.46 (8,581 sales). His most recent chart success came as part of his collaboration with fellow rappers Skepta and Young Adz. Chip hasn’t made the Top 40 as solo artist since 2011 single In The Air when he was still using his former Chipmunk handle. Just ahead of its planned early November release, Little Mix’s sixth album Confetti duly showers us with its third hit single. Not A Pop Song is arguably their most diverting release for some time, its acidic lyric about being hamsters on a wheel and stating, ‘I don’t do what Simon says’, leaving the listener in little doubt as to the cathartic intent behind the song. The single is, however, off to a quiet start, only reaching No.49 for now with 8,313 sales. It is their 35th chart hit. There is a heavily political tone to the lyrics and intent of BLM, the new single from #OFB, the sprawling Tottenham collective which originally spawned Headie One but now largely consists of Bandokay, Double LZ and SJ. The track is dedicated to the memory of Bandokay’s father Mark Duggan, whose shooting led to the 2011 riots. Profits from the single are set to be donated to local community charities in North London. Most notably, BLM samples the piano riff from Coldplay’s Trouble with the express blessing of Chris Martin himself. The fourth chart single to credit #OFB directly, it is No.63 with 6,654 sales. Singles sales creep back above the 21 million mark for the first time in nine weeks and stand at 21,027,020, a rise of 0.62% week-on-week. Paid sales crash 9.4% week-on-week to 412,695 in a further new record low for the download era. Click here to access Music Week's full range of charts.

Inside Q3 2020: Music Week's quarterly analysis

If Q2 was one of the most difficult quarters in the history of music retail, Q3 saw the fightback begin. Despite the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, vinyl sales surged and streaming continued to grow. Music Week analyses the latest data and grills top label execs on the biz’s big comeback… MARKET TRENDS In football, a team’s capacity to recover quickly after a setback is known by pundits as ‘bouncebackability’. The music business hasn’t really had an equivalent until now but, after the chaos of Q2, when most record shops were closed and physical sales collapsed, Q3 saw a return to more typical trends. Physical rebounded and streaming continued on its merry way, as untroubled as an Aston Villa striker strolling through Liverpool’s defence. Overall, according to the BPI, Album Equivalent Sales hit 37,471,675, a rise of 8.7% year-on-year. That was better than Q2’s against-all-odds 5.8% increase and, while down on Q3 2019’s 11.3% surge, still constitutes a truly remarkable result given what’s happening in the biz and the wider world. Within those stats, streaming continued its steady growth, with Streaming Equivalent Albums up 16.8%. And while physical albums were down, it was by just 13.9% year-on-year, a significant improvement on Q1’s largely pre-Covid 24.2% decline, never mind Q2’s calamitous 45.1% drop. That figure was achieved despite CD albums dropping 24.3%, after vinyl LPs rose a remarkable 41.4% year-on-year. That may have been largely thanks to Record Store Day and HMV Vinyl Week relocating to the quarter, but still attests to the incredible work being done by many record shops in truly unprecedented circumstances.  “The independent record stores have done a phenomenal job of pivoting their audience to online,” says David Hawkes, MD of Universal Music UK’s Commercial Division. “The idea of browsing in store is a lot more challenging, but many have pivoted very successfully to a click-and-collect service or moved it online. That may well be the future. [Retail] could move from bricks-and-mortar supported by online to online, supported bybricks-and-mortar.” “The physical trade has put a lot more focus and emphasis on vinyl,” concurs Derek Allen, Warner Music UK’s SVP, commercial. “You can see the industry is building more and more events around vinyl opportunities and record companies are getting more savvy in terms of limited editions, coloured vinyl and reissues. Everyone’s finally catching up with the size of the opportunity and putting more effort into chasing it down.” It remains, however, a game of two halves: while vinyl laps up the attention, CD – which still delivered more than three times the number of unit sales in Q3 than vinyl – remains a format seemingly heading for, if not already in, the relegation zone. So should the biz now devote some retail promotional time and space to those unloved plastic discs? “It’s an interesting point and I do think we’ll see CD play more of a role in National Album Day than it does in Record Store Day,” says Hawkes. “It’s definitely worthy of further consideration from both retail and record labels. CD is certainly still a priority format for Universal.” “There is still demand for CD but you’ve got to satiate the demand and, if it is all flipped onto vinyl, then who are we to say they’re wrong?” says Allen. “It does feel to me like vinyl has attracted a completely new audience. It’s not just the old crusty collectors, it’s a younger generation.” Charles Wood, Sony Music UK VP of market planning & media, notes that CD sales are more driven by new releases than vinyl, but says lockdown’s reduced schedule has put added pressure on the format. “CD is in between vinyl and streaming and maybe people are starting to think, ‘Why do I need this at home?’” he says. “We’re going to see a market that will end up with streaming on one side and vinyl and D2C on the other, which will pose challenges for artists who sit somewhere in the middle. I don’t think it’s the death [of CD] but we’re maybe heading towards it.” Music consumption’s shift back into the home, with many still shunning the commute, also has implications for the streaming sector. Some in the biz may privately wonder whether having the entire nation at home most of the time should actually have resulted in even greater consumption growth but, perhaps more importantly, our panel all also report increasing music subscriptions, despite a looming economic and jobs meltdown. “There’s plenty of room for the subscription streaming market to continue to grow in the UK,” insists BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor. “We’re confident in the value proposition for consumers; they really love the experience and, because of that, there are good prospects going forward. We don’t agree with those who feel that we are approaching market saturation.” Even so, competition between the DSPs is hotting up as they chase an ever-smaller pool of new converts and people’s routines change due to fluctuating coronavirus restrictions. “It’s a really competitive market,” says Allen. “They’ve all been jockeying for position in terms of driving their subs base, whether bundled with telcos or using their hardware as a Trojan horse for getting people to subscribe.  “Plus you’ve got people who’ve almost been forced into making a choice between whether they can still consume physical music or whether they finally make the leap into the digital space. Amazon has enjoyed particularly heavy growth during lockdown, both physically and from a streaming perspective.” Amazon Prime’s range of services certainly looks attractive in times like these, and Apple’s imminent Apple One bundle may also have an impact. “Covid has advanced new tech quicker than would have happened before,” says Wood. “People are now consuming music, TV and film digitally, so offers like that are going to be attractive. After six months we’ve fast-forwarded into a slightly different world.” “The new working model will likely be a hybrid scenario where you spend several days at home,” notes Allen. “So it does make the home even more important in terms of trying to dominate and own that space. That’s definitely a battleground for the DSPs, whether that’s around the TV, audio, visual or whatever.  “You can see Amazon are making a real play to own the home environment and it’s quite a smart business move,” he adds. “If you can own every element of a household’s interaction with the outside world, whether that’s paying bills, listening to music, watching TV, having your groceries delivered, turning the lights on… It’s up to the other DSPs to try and compete in that landscape.” Who will emerge as champions? Watch this space… TALENT Just like the Premier League, the Q3 charts were dominated by international talent, but a few homegrown players still proved their worth. Four of the quarter’s Top 5 albums and singles were by non-UK stars, while the albums chart continued to be littered with greatest hits compilations and classic albums of yesteryear. Not that Universal will be complaining. The major produced another dominant albums performance, with the entire Top 5 and six of the Top 10: Pop Smoke’s Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon (Republic/Polydor, No.1, 119,733 sales, according to the Official Charts Company); Taylor Swift’s Folklore (EMI, No.2, 115,474); Juice Wrld’s Legends Never Die (Interscope/Polydor, No.3, 92,243); Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent (EMI, No.4, 72,497); The Killers’ Imploding The Mirage (EMI, No.5, 66,273); and Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Legend (Tuff Gong, No.9, 42,892). No wonder David Hawkes describes himself, football manager style, as “over the moon”. “We’re really happy at the blend,” he says. “We put huge emphasis on new releases, that’s the life blood because new releases and breaking acts today are catalogue tomorrow. But we often forget that, what might feel old to us, is new to someone else. It continues to be about releasing great music to service an audience: that audience might be there now, or it might be there in 30 or 40 years time, as we’re seeing with Queen, Elton John and Bob Marley.” Swift’s success came despite a departure from her usual modus operandi: Folklore was a surprise release, with no physical editions available in its debut week. “She’s made a really mature record,” says Hawkes. “I’m hopeful we’ll bring in a much broader audience and really set the tone for what her future career could look like. The staggered release gave us a bump in subsequent weeks, which was great, but not necessarily ideal. I’d still rather service all fans and all commercial retail partners at the same time if we can.” UMG also had four of the Top 10 singles: Rockstar by DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch (Interscope, No.3, 529,079); Blinding Lights by The Weeknd (Republic/Island, No.4, 428,645); Breaking Me by Topic ft. A7s (Positiva, No.5, 427,116); and Rain On Me by Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande (Polydor/Island, No.6, 415,833). That at least left Warner clear to claim the period’s No.1 single, Head & Heart by Joel Corry ft. MNEK (Asylum/Perfect Havoc), with 726,906 sales. Angst over the lack of big-selling UK debut albums continues, but Allen points out that Corry has had a spectacular breakthrough year without even releasing an LP. “We need a conversation around what constitutes a broken act,” says the exec. “The industry’s gone through this consumption revolution and yet we’re still using the same measures that we used 35 years ago to define whether an act has broken. The reality is, a lot of artists are not even putting albums out.  “Joel Corry has three Top 5 singles, a massive No.1, he’s on three million track sales and yet, if he doesn’t put an album out, he’ll never be broken. Who’s made that call?” It’s a valid point, and Warner produced two other Top 10 singles from newer artists: WAP by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion (Atlantic, No.8, 391,996) and Lighter by Nathan Dawe ft. KSI (Atlantic, No.9, 359,765), as well as Top 20 efforts from the likes of S1mba and Tones & I. Its albums performance relied on more established names, however. Dua Lipa – very much a Harry Kane-style domestic star who’s up there with the world’s best – had another big quarter with Future Nostalgia (Warner, No.7, 61,372), while Fleetwood Mac’s ongoing renaissance saw 50 Years – Don’t Stop (Rhino, No.8. 47,277) stream its way into the Top 10. “That’s a function of consumption in the home and the whole family being thrown together again,” grins Allen. “Looking at the charts for the first few months of lockdown, it was all heritage artists that people were reverting back to while they were trapped in their homes. But that’s what being a major record company is all about – you travel in lots of lanes at the same time and you can cater for all tastes in whatever circumstances.” Sony’s album sellers were a similar mix, with Harry Styles’ Fine Line (Columbia, 63,159) coming in at No.6 and Bob Dylan’s Rough And Rowdy Ways (Columbia, 41,763) at No.10.  “It’s amazing how you can correlate sales of Dylan’s albums with the reviews he gets – and this got fantastic reviews,” notes Charles Wood. “Press can still drive sales for artists who have a fanbase that is very review-led.” Styles also scored the quarter’s No.7 single with Watermelon Sugar (Columbia, 414,322), while Jawsh 685 & Jason Derulo’s Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat) (RCA, 655,169) hit No.2. Sony had a further five songs in the Top 20. “We’re very happy with tracks, and we’ve been having a great run in the chart in recent weeks,” says Wood. “We’ve had a succession of songs in the Top 5 and the great thing is, those hits are all coming from across the company. All the labels are doing well and there’s a breadth of artists there.” Meanwhile, AJ Tracey flew the flag for the indies with his self-released West Ten (ft. Mabel) becoming the No.10 song of Q3 with 347,753 sales. But it was another barren quarter for debut albums, with the top UK first-timer once again KSI’s Dissimulation (RBC/BMG) at No.42, with 23,379 sales. Yet David Hawkes claims the real impact of new releases is being felt later than ever… “The volume and engagement will come, it’s just going to take longer to get there,” he says. “It’s not a worry, it’s just a changing pattern of consumption.” In other words: keep plugging away for the full 90 minutes…   MARKET SHARES They say the league table doesn’t lie. And while there have been plenty of shock results in the Premier League already this season, Universal’s crown shows no signs of slipping. Indeed, while Hawkes normally sees 35% market share as his benchmark, Universal – led by David Joseph in the UK – actually topped 36% in six of Music Week’s seven key metrics (only Track Sales, with 32.7%, missed out). It posted 36.7% in both All Music All Albums (up 0.3 points year-on-year) and All Music All Albums (+0.6). “If 36% becomes the new norm, we’ll be looking for 37% and beyond,” warns Hawkes. “It could always be better. We are particularly proud of our artist albums performance, both our artist community and our labels continue to focus on releasing albums and bodies of work and we’re encouraging audiences to engage.” Indeed, on Artist Album Sales, Universal racked up a huge 38.5% (up 4.5 points) to open up a gargantuan 24.1-point gulf over its nearest competitors, Sony. That happened despite Jason Iley’s major growing its own Artist Album Sales Share by 0.3 points to 14.4%, to reclaim the No.2 spot from Warner. Sony lost ground on Compilation Album Sales (32.5%, down 4.0) but was otherwise steady, posting 21.2% on its preferred All Music All Albums metric (down just 0.1 points) and 20.8% (down 0.6) on All Music Artist Albums.  And Charles Wood warns it’s increasingly difficult to surge up the market share tables. “We are heading to a world where it will be steady,” he says. “You won’t have a seasonal market and, in a market where 60% of consumption is catalogue streaming, we’re not going to have wild fluctuations unless there is a huge superstar project released.” Tony Harlow’s Warner also lost ground on sales listings – it was down 5.5 points to 13.6% on Artist Album Sales, where the comparison was up against last year’s Ed Sheeran blockbuster album, the No.6 Collaborations Project. But, when streams are incorporated, it was dead level on its preferred All Music Artist Albums listing with 16.8% and down just 0.6 on All Music All Albums (16.4%). “We’ve been functioning well in the charts, with No.1 albums for Nines and Biffy Clyro in the quarter,” he says. “And Dua has been amazing given the circumstances it was released in. You always want to do better, but we’re very happy with the way we’re travelling in the tracks market, where we’re seeing a lot of success.” At record company level, the manager at EMI might have changed, with Rebecca Allen taking over from Ted Cockle, but the Universal label still topped All Music All Albums, All Music Artist Albums, Artist Album Sales and All Album Sales. David Dollimore’s RCA took the honours in Track Streams and Track Sales, while Nicola Tuer’s Sony Music Commercial Group claimed the Compilation Album Sales top spot. Next up, of course, is the music retailer equivalent of squeaky bum time: Q4. Can the bounceback continue? Well, this year, with packed High Streets and queues at HMV tills likely to be a thing of the past thanks to social distancing, there’s an added element of uncertainty for our panel. “[The impact of] Q4 may have dissipated over the years but the trends are still the same, it’s usually a fairly predictable environment,” says Allen. “This year, I haven’t got a fucking clue! It really is incredibly difficult to try and second guess where we’re going to be.” Music retail: it’s a funny old game.

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