Chart Watch Weekly - October 4th 2021

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James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
Greetings loyal subscriber and thank you for your eyeballs and attention once more. Welcome to our weekly romp through the wacky world of the music industry’s weekly sales tabulation. If only Next allowed us the same kind of scrutiny into the performance of their tie and cufflink gift packs.
In Chart Watch Weekly this week:
  • Ed does telly and boy does it pay off.
  • Chris Martin is dad to seven.
  • A rummage around stuff in America, Australia and Germany.
  • The Monday midweeks. Which are going according to the Script.

Graham Nor-team
When something peculiar happens to the sales and streams of a particular track and you are hunting around for an adequate explanation (sometimes there just isn’t one) it is easy to become focused on a particular cause.
After all there’s no absolute guarantee that an appearance on a big TV stage can have a beneficial effect on your sales, not in our increasingly fragmented media world. But it is hard not to conclude that “doing Graham Norton” can actually do you a world of good.
So on the Friday before last, Ed Sheeran was the guest of honour on the new series of the Graham Norton show. And whilst the ginger wonder doesn’t exactly need a TV slot to make people aware of his existence, his numbers over the last week do kind of suggest that is exactly what took place.
Confounding idle speculation here last week that it had started on a downward slope Shivers raced forward again, experiencing a 12.6% uplift in sales to reach a new total of 63,520 - the most it has managed in any week since release. Much of this was driven by paid sales (suggesting this was indeed TV audiences taking the bait) - his physical numbers went from 76 to 1,096 and his digital downloads from 5,780 to 7,981.
This is also, incidentally, the first time since its release that Bad Habits has not been de facto No.1. Even if it doesn’t happen immediately, attention in the biggest hits always starts to wane the moment they stop being at the top of the charts.
The Norton appearance also had a positive effect on Ed’s album sales - and we are still several weeks ahead of the release of the new one.
Divide saw its sales rise 21.9%, X flies up 24.9%), No.6 Collaborations Project was up 13.1% and + grew by 25.3% on the week as all shot up their own part of the albums chart accordingly.
Ed Sheeran is so massive and his music so ubiquitous he actually ends up overexposed and to what seems to be his relief causes him to have to go away again for a period to stop people becoming sick of him.
Ed Sheeran - Shivers [Live from the Graham Norton Show]
Ed Sheeran - Shivers [Live from the Graham Norton Show]
Universally Niche
Here’s another of pop’s general rules:
When Coldplay team up with someone else they tend to up the levels of awesome.
Princess Of China with Rihanna? Terrific. Something Just Like This with The Chainsmokers? Famously the only non-Sheeran song in the Top 10 of that notorious week in spring 2017. Miracles with Big Sean? OK not so much, but nobody is perfect.
So even the idea that they would team up with no less a force than BTS for their new single My Universe was an intriguing one. On the surface, the track itself does nothing that its predecessor Higher Power didn’t do, which may be an omen for the new album but the addition of Korean-language vocals from the combined members of the K-pop giants somehow made this one of Coldplay’s more compelling singles for some time.
That showed in the track’s chart performance as it shot straight to the Top 3, Coldplay’s biggest hit single since the aforementioned Chainsmokers duet four years ago and no less than the third No.3 hit that BTS have appeared on, their second in the last few months.
However, there is a “but” coming. The sales profile of this single was unusual to say the least. It did extraordinary numbers at paid retail, selling 5,679 physical copies and a whopping 21,369 downloads. Numbers that literally nobody has approached all year. Which does kind of indicate that it was a particular type of fan going for this single.
By way of comparison, Higher Power when it debuted at No.12 earlier this year had 2,539 physical sales, and 4,706 digital downloads and a total overall chart sale of 24,011 copies. So the BTS factor came close to almost doubling their appeal.
But - there it is - those kinds of numbers just aren’t sustainable even in the short term. Early midweeks are kind of bearing this out and it looks like My Universe is going to trace the same sales profile as its predecessor - popping a number first week and then settling down into a respectable chart run at a more realistic level.
They are really into their virtual reality performances though aren’t they? Just like the electronic dancers used for their Brits performance. Chris Martin is still old enough to be a dad to all of them though. Let’s not shy away from that.
Coldplay X BTS - My Universe (Official Video)
Coldplay X BTS - My Universe (Official Video)
The British Have Come
The story of The Lathums topping the charts with their first album proper (they had an EP go Top 20 last year) was notable in its own right. But the arrival of the Wigan band’s album How Beautiful Life Can Be at the top of the charts (beating Public Service Broadcasting into second place) prompted the BPI to cheer about a study it had clearly been sitting on for some time. Because 2021 has - all told - been a quite terrific year for British music and British bands in particular
British bands have ruled the Number 1 spot on the Official Albums Chart for 11 out of the 39 Official Chart weeks – 28% all told. It was 17% in 2020 and 15% in 2019. BPI figures also show that British acts account for 1 in 10 of all audio streams globally.
How many of those are actually Ed Sheeran it doesn’t say.
Anyway, The Lathums. Terrific blokes who needless to say went mental at the news they were top of the charts.
THE LATHUMS
This ones for our families who believed in us all the way from the start, for all our friends who have supported us along the way, and most importantly every single one of you, without you our lifelong dream wouldn’t be possible. Guitar music is back where it belongs x https://t.co/XmQcY3a5Ga
Nugget Of The Week
Sometimes the stuff that isn’t visible, below the waterline so to speak, is just as fascinating as that which makes all the headlines.
Still rising up the singles chart gracefully is the David Guetta/Mistajam/John Newman collaboration If You Really Love Me (How Will I Know). Up to No.27 this week fact fans.
This week a new Clean Bandit remix of the Whitney Houston original on which it is based has been released, something which once upon a time would have been an instant smash. Alas due to a) Clean Bandit having rather jumped the shark and b) the remix itself being actually rubbish and ripping the heart and soul out of the original, the single has utterly failed to take off. It clocked up 4,055 sales last week. The No.100 single 1 Take Pt 2 by MIST managed 4,353.
Also fascinating me right now is the bubbling under popularity of I Love You Always Forever by Donna Lewis, a 1996 hit that I have a soft spot for as it is possibly the only potential hit single I personally championed during my on-air radio career, insisted it was playlisted and then watched it become a huge hit during that summer. It has been playing to new audiences for the past few weeks after featuring on the soundtrack of TV commercials for booking.com. But what effect has this had on its sales and prospects for returning to the charts for the first time in 25 years?
They have increased, certainly. But the track has gone from selling about 900 copies a week before the adverts started airing to an average of about 1,700 over each of the last four weeks. So a chart return alas looks unlikely.
Across The Atlantic
I’ve no idea what has happened to Billboard. Perhaps they keep all their data in a WhatsApp group chat. They missed announcing the Billboard 200 album charts on Sunday and have as of 10pm UK time on Monday not released the Hot 100 singles either. Much to the chagrin of the BTS army across the planet who want to know how My Universe did.
Let’s catch up next week shall we? Some of us have a newsletter to send out.
A Land Down Under
ARIA
Here's the #ARIACharts Top Ten singles for this week with @thekidlaroi & @justinbieber, @eltonofficial, @DUALIPA, @pnau, @GlassAnimals, @coldplay, @BTS_twt, @LilNasX and more.

Head to https://t.co/bfON5Bzzfk for all of this week's charts! https://t.co/VWbLNPJuIs
Welcome to our regular game of “spot the difference” in the Australian singles chart, Stay spends a 12th week at No.1, a total beaten by only five singles in the history of the listings down under. Their all-time record is held by Dance Monkey which spent a buttock-numbing 24 weeks at No.1, so Kid and Bieber have a little way to go before they even come close to that.
The only new arrival there, as here, is the Coldplay/BTS collision.
There is more home-grown Australian talent at the top of their albums chart as indie singer Ruby Fields flies to the top with her first album proper Been Doin’ It For A Bit.
It isn’t all plain sailing for Aussie artists. The big Natalie Imbruglia comeback album which made the Top 10 here is a mere No.30 in her home country.
Ruby Fields - Song About A Boy (Official Music Video)
Ruby Fields - Song About A Boy (Official Music Video)
Euro-vision
OffizielleCharts
Die höchsten Neueinstiege der Single-Charts landen Samra & Topic42 feat. Arash („Ich bin weg“, #9), Bonez MC („Eine Pille“, #12), Coldplay & BTS („My Universe“, #13) sowie Zuna & Lune („Baby 2.0“, #16) Vorne stehen The Kid LAROI. & Justin Bieber („Stay“). https://t.co/XblV6ne09t https://t.co/ux0jtF1SOM
Globalisation naturally afflicts the German charts too, so their biggest hits of the moment are a series of familiar faces. Stay remains a source of utter fascination for everyone it seems (ACR rules have ensured it is well out of the way outside the Top 10 here), and the usual suspects of Sheeran and Glass Animals are present and correct.
The Tweet from their chart compilers notes their highest new entry for this week is by Samra & Topic 42. Ich Big Weg (Boro Boro) is alas not a tribute to the side which plays at the Riverside Stadium but a far from unpleasant combination of rap and bhangra. Its title translates as I’m Gone. But it is startlingly summery for a track that is becoming a hit just as the weather turns to crap.
Samra & TOPIC42 feat. Arash - Ich bin weg (Boro Boro) [Official Video]
Samra & TOPIC42 feat. Arash - Ich bin weg (Boro Boro) [Official Video]
Midweek Teases
In Sunday’s midweek update Official Charts were playing up the close race between Ed Sheeran and Elton/Dua at 1 and 2 respectively. But you know what is coming, the gap has opened up just a little further. Shivers barring an absolute miracle coming from nowhere will spend a fourth week at No.1, taking Ed Sheeran’s marathon run at the top of the British charts to 15 weeks.
Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah) by CKay seems set for a rise to the Top 3 as well. Almost needless to say the Coldplay single is sinking out of sight fast. It should still be Top 20, but probably not by much.
Big new singles are thin on the ground, the highest new entry is most likely to be Last One Standing from Skylar Grey and Polo G, as heard on the soundtrack of the new Venom movie (a cameo from Eminem is helping its appeal too), but for now that’s way down the listings and well outside the Top 20. Billie Eilish’s No Time To Die theme has reappeared lower down the midweek Top 75s after the Bond movie was finally released. It will be interesting to see if Official Charts give it a discretionary reset of its ACR status to give it a higher chart profile. If its streams counted for full length it would probably already be nudging its way to a return to the Top 30.
Tales From The Script, the Greatest Hits collection by The Script seems comfortably on its way to being No.1 this week, edging out The Specials in the process. Outsider by Roger Taylor has accumulated enough copies already to ensure it should easily be the first-ever solo Top 10 album for the Queen drummer.
Skylar Grey - Last One Standing ft. Polo G, Mozzy, & Eminem [Official Audio]
Skylar Grey - Last One Standing ft. Polo G, Mozzy, & Eminem [Official Audio]
Finally, we can’t go without noting the rumblings that have started coming from Adele’s world. From her social media channels suddenly going dark to strange stunts like this happening, it appears that Ed Sheeran isn’t the only British megastar unleashing a new album in time for the winter. Welcome to Quarter 4. Things are about to get astonishing.
Don’t forget the new UK charts are announced by Radio One from 5pm every Friday, can be seen in full on officialcharts.com and musicweek.com, and subscribers to the latter can read my exclusive chart analysis from 6pm that day.
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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. The deep dive facts there just wasn't room for in the magazine and a summary of events taking place worldwide.

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