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Chart Watch Weekly - May 16th 2022

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
Bad Bunnies, the Baddest set of singles sales in history and Bad News for Eurovision haters make up the bulk of this week’s chart news. With an alarming surfeit of Spanish-language hits to talk about as well.
Also getting on its bike and looking for work this week:.
  • Breaching the milestone.
  • Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.
  • Why are so many Australian stars called Daniel?
  • Sam goes stratospheric.

Millions And Millions
The market for singles hit a fascinating new milestone this week.
Now of course the definition of a “single” and how we count them has to be specified in this day and age, but this is one of the more interesting stats that emerge from the Official Charts report issued every Friday. Just how many cumulative “sales” have they tracked in that particular week.
Such sales don’t directly correspond to the numbers reported for chart singles, heavens no, that would be far too simple. For consistency, the overall market numbers ignore all issues such as ACR adjustments and differing conversion ratios for paid and free streams. They assume all streams are converted at the original 1:100 ratio established in the middle of the last decade, just for the sake of comparing like with like.
This week for the first time ever that total amounted to over 25 million, 25,035,774 to be precise. And it was only at the end of last year (the week before Christmas in fact) that the number topped 24 million for the very first time. That’s a quite phenomenal rate of growth.
Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean sales of contemporary hits are growing rapidly. It is more an indication of the ever-expanding size of the streaming market. Every week the DSPs process more and more requests for music as the concept of clicking to hear music online steadily takes hold. But with every song you play a potential “single” no matter what its original release status, it is small wonder that this feeds through into the size of the charts database.
After neglecting it for far too long I’ve started paying proper attention to the Stats page on the Chart Watch website, and one of the graphs I try to keep updated is the “size of singles market” line for the current year. But a more telling sign of the overall trend is to take a longer-term look, and this is what the “decade to date” graph looks like at present:
The singles market has gone from averaging around the 21m mark during 2020 to the 24m mark so far in 2022.
Absorbing enough, but wait until you see the market trend for paid singles. Downloads and the odd physical sale. More food for thought for those who are convinced there is still life in the market for purchases.
(All of the above is publicly-available information, incidentally, reported in the weekly Music Week chart packs. You just have to be as nerdy as I am to sit and assemble it all).
Twitter Is Not The Internet
The disconnect between online chatter and what the general public really care about is frequently thrown into sharp relief, never more so during political debates.
But this also applies to music as well. I’m still absorbed by the outpouring of love that greeted the midweek release the week before last of Lady Gaga’s Hold My Hand, her contribution to the new Top Gun : Maverick movie being greeted something akin to the return of long-absent royalty.
As we noted last week, in the four days it was available for that first chart survey the single did not attract enough of an audience to make the published listings. But what about this week? What happened to the big Lady Gaga comeback with a full seven days of adoring streams behind it?
We shouldn’t be too quick to mock, for all I know this might be another No.1 single in waiting. But it does prove that online chatter doesn’t always translate into instantaneous chart success.
One single that has exploded from the chart depths of course is Lizzo’s About Damn Time which rocketed into the Top 5 this week (and indeed as you will see is making enormous waves elsewhere), now becoming her biggest hit single on these shores.
La La La La La America
A quite fascinating week for the American charts with the release of new albums from two high-impact rap stars. Jack Harlow’s Come Home The Kids Miss You debuted at No.3 on the Billboard 200, the most immediate consequence of which is First Class accelerating back to the top of the Hot 100 after three weeks away.
But by far the biggest debut of the week was that of Bad Bunny. Benito Ocasio owes his fame in this country to a brace of 2018 hit singles - his participation on Cardi B’s Top 10 hit I Like It and his own Top 20 follow-up MIA. He took a huge step towards true mainstream celebrity last year thanks to an extended deal with WWE, culminating in his participation in a match at last year’s Wrestlemania. Which surprisingly wasn’t awful
FULL MATCH - Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs. The Miz & John Morrison: WrestleMania 37 Night 1
FULL MATCH - Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs. The Miz & John Morrison: WrestleMania 37 Night 1
Bad Bunny’s fourth solo album (fifth overall if you count the J Balvin collaboration Oasis) Un Verano Sin Ti was largely ignored in Britain, hitting the dizzy heights of No.62 with 1,825 sales to its name but the Puerto Rican star charges to the top of the Billboard 200 for his second No.1 record. Both of which were performed entirely in Spanish.
But just look at the number of his tracks that pepper the Top 10 of the Hot 100. For the first time in American chart history no fewer than four Spanish-language hits occupy simultaneous places in the Top 10 - and Bad Bunny is only the 11th artist to have as many as four of the Top 10 singles of the week.
We are in for a rocky few weeks of this kind of thing thanks to Billboard’s policy of not restricting the number of simultaneous hits an artist can have on the chart. After Future’s sweep of hits last week and Bad Bunny this, we have Kendrick Lamar to deal with in seven days time.
Bad Bunny - Moscow Mule (Official Video) | Un Verano Sin Ti
Bad Bunny - Moscow Mule (Official Video) | Un Verano Sin Ti
A Land Down Under
Be under no illusion About Damn Time is the hottest track on the planet right now. It vaults into the Top 10 in Britain, in America and here as you can see in Australia as well, adding yet another injection of fresh blood into the upper end of their charts. Even if there is utterly no shifting Harry Styles from the top.
Jack Harlow has some of the biggest new hits of the week in Australia, although Dua Lipa has the beating of Churchill Downs, the singles landing at 13 and 17 respectively.
Australia’s No.1 is notably Future Never by former Silverchair frontman (and former Natalie Imbruglia husband) Daniel Johns, taking him to the top of the charts in his native country for the first time since his old band’s swansong Young Modern back in 2007.
Daniel Johns - I Feel Electric Feat. Moxie Raia (Official Lyric Video)
Daniel Johns - I Feel Electric Feat. Moxie Raia (Official Lyric Video)
Soy Rapstar
With the US charts having gone all Spanish it seems only appropriate to check in to the EPDM listings in the country itself, albeit with the usual caveat that the Spanish charts are not published until Tuesday so the above table is a week out of date. Bad Bunny is a thing in Ibera as well (although we won’t know until tomorrow just how well his new record has done) so for the moment to Spanish’s No.1 for the second week is this track from Paolo Londra, this the second chart-topper of the year for the Argentinian rap star following Plan A earlier this year.
PAULO LONDRA || BZRP Music Sessions #23
PAULO LONDRA || BZRP Music Sessions #23
Midweek Teases
Oh boy, this is where it gets really interesting.
All eyes this week will be on British Eurovision moral victor Sam Ryder. His epic ballad Space Man was oddly slow to catch on with the British public, despite having been available since February. It reached the dizzy heights of No.78 on this week’s chart but inevitably there has been a surge of interest in the song since his leaderboard-topping exploits in Turin on Saturday.
The first sales flash on Sunday (the usual “first look”) showed that Space Man had indeed charged into the Top 10, although everyone took that with a slight pinch of salt given - as surely everyone realises by now - the Sunday update is compiled most of the time without the benefit of full streaming data. Surely that was a false position.
But as well as flying to the top of the iTunes table Space Man also barged its way to the summit of Spotify over the weekend, landing 495,000 plays on Saturday - essentially doubling at a stroke its entire lifetime play count. So it was hardly a surprise that Official Charts broke their own embargo on Monday lunchtime to trumpet that on the first midweek update “proper” Sam Ryder was still on course for a Top 5 finish.
The present numbers don’t take into account Sunday’s streaming data either (at the time of writing Spotify themselves haven’t updated the numbers) meaning for all we know the song is even more popular than before.
So this is turning into a quite absorbing week. The last British Eurovision entry to make the Top 40 was Children Of The Universe by Molly in 2014, the last to even go Top 10 was Flying The Flag by Scooch in 2007. And of course no Eurovision song has reached No.1 since Gina G’s Ooh Ahh Just A Little Bit in 1996.
Alas there’s no sign of any of the other Eurovision songs inside the Top 40, but you can surely bet there will be a handful lower down.
In the stuff that hasn’t been as widely reported, the Styles/Ryder hegemony is about to end with Cat Burns’ Go the nearest contender to take over at No.1. Kenrick Lamar is on set for a trio of new entries in the Top 10 from his new album but Mr Morale And The Big Steppers is for the moment only the No.2 record on the midweek charts. Florence & The Machine lead the way with Dance Fever more than 13,000 sales ahead.
See you on Friday for Chart Watch itself. Where we might actually have plenty to talk about.
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James Masterton
James Masterton @chartupdate

From the world famous chart analyst, a weekly roundup of everything fit to print from charts worldwide. Considered coverage of the stories generated by the UK charts along with a summary of events taking place on pop charts in Europe, across the Atlantic, and on the other side of the world.

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