THE LATEST. Highs and lows from the pop frontline

The new Official Albums Chart rules: how it all works

Posted by Popjustice on Feb 12 2015 at about 09:50

Thanks to Spotify, streaming is bigger than ever in the UK.


An impressive graph – and that’s just Spotify. Look how much it changes when you factor in Deezer.


The challenge for the Official Charts is to include streaming so that the chart stays relevant – but it’s hard. When streaming data was added to the singles chart, they came up with the simple formula that 100 streams would equal one sale.

But today the Official Charts Company have made a big announcement: streaming will also now count towards the albums chart, too.


There are difficulties – what if one album track is streamed a lot? What if people only listen to half an album? That sort of thing.

Fortunately, the OCC have come up with a formula to make sense of it.

Here’s how it works.

This is CDs sold in Tesco and petrol stations.


These come from the the strange group of people who have embraced The Future to the extent that they’ll consume music digitally, but haven’t embraced digital enough to comfortably wave goodbye to the concept of paying a fair sum for music. By 2018 this will account for eighteen people. You could argue that a digital sale should count for more than a physical sale, because paying for something intangible that you can’t sell or give to someone else shows more commitment to the music than buying a compact disc. But let’s not get bogged down in that.


From next month, the Official Charts Company will look at the total plays of an album’s twelve most streamed tracks – then they’ll divide that by 1000. You might think that 1000 is a curiously round number but that is just a coincidence: this number has been arrived upon BY SCIENCE.



If a Live Lounge performance of any song on the album has given Fearne Cotton “goosebumps!!” in the last 30 days, the current sales total will be multiplied by 1.045.


Thanks to numerous, totally logical memes floating around in the wake of this year’s Grammys, everyone knows that an album gets progressively worse with every additional performer, writer or producer. You might say that by this logic you could record the sound of yourself shitting in a yellow bucket and that the ‘song’, having been composed, produced and performed by just one person, would be intrinsically better than anything Lennon and McCartney ever knocked together. But you would be shouted down because internet memes have spoken. Anyway, based on all this, 0.08% of an album’s sales will be knocked off for every additional person involved in the album. The OCC are going to be very strict on this and as well as counting songwriters, producers and performers, they’ll also take into account A&Rs, managers, accountants, everyone who works at the record label, and the person who went and got sandwiches while the photo for the sleeve was being taken.


Does the artist wear a hat on the sleeve of the album? If yes, add another 8000 ‘sales’ to the tally.


The grand total!

We are sure you will agree that this is an exciting new chapter for the Official Charts, and we look forward to seeing how the new rules shape the albums chart!

We’ve just remembered our ‘predict when Rihanna’s single will appear’ contest

Posted by Popjustice on Feb 11 2015 at about 17:27


At last year’s Twenty Quid Music Prize judging ceremony thing, we asked attendees to guess precisely when Rihanna’s comeback single would appear.

Some predictions were a little optimistic (“TONIGHT LIVE RIGHT HERE”) and some were great ideas (“December 13 – AKA Beyoncéday”, “January 1 00:01″ and so on). As it turned out only one person – who guessed March 5 – predicted that the song would come later than it actually did.

This said, an attendee by the name of Georgina Stone was responsible for making the prediction closest to the actual January 25 appearance of ‘FourFiveSeconds’. Georgina guessed “January 19 (around 2pm)”.

We promised on the night that the closest guess would win twenty quid so Georgina please drop us a line and we’ll sort out the delivery of your prize.

From the post-‘FourFiveSeconds’ vantage point we all now occupy, it’s hard to remember just how exciting it seemed, in the closing months of 2014, that a new Rihanna single might suddenly appear.

Still, there’s always the second single. If anyone fancies guessing when that will appear, chuck your predictions in the comments below. Date and time please – we’ll PayPal £4.50 to whoever turns out to be closest.

Blog post to recognise the fact that Capital are hammering the Years & Years single

Posted by Popjustice on Feb 10 2015 at about 15:35


When it comes to new acts the unwritten UK radio rule is that Radio 1 makes the hits then Capital plays them. It’s an arrangement that works pretty well for both stations, and both stations’ listeners.

Strangely, Capital are absolutely hammering the Years & Years single. They have been for weeks.

If you ever listen to Capital you’ll know how peculiar this is: total playlist domination for this sort of band, at this stage in their career, with this sort of song. More interestingly, ‘King’ is usually back announced with the sort of glowing praise (“this lot are going to be massive” etc) that Capital usually reserve for acts managed by their own parent company, Global. The support for this song is so intense that we actually had to check Global’s website to see if Years & Years were on their books somewhere. Apparently not.

To give you an idea of the scale of all this, let’s have a look at the ever-amazing Compare My Radio website to see who’s been playing Years & Years over the last month.


Those figures are pretty extraordinary – every Capital station is playing ‘King’ more than twice as much as Radio 1. (And Radio 1, don’t forget, have been the band’s biggest champions until now.) Yes, Capital always tend to give certain songs more plays than Radio 1 – you’re never more than eight minutes away from an Ellie Goulding vocal. But still.

So the question is: why are Capital playing ‘King’ so much?

And the answer, surely, is: because it’s amazing.

What a song.

The new PJ Almighty: Marina, Madonna, Tori Kelly, Sharks ‘et al’

Posted by Popjustice on Feb 10 2015 at about 13:57


It has been ‘quite a while’ since we did a new PJ Almighty on Popjustice. For those of you who don’t recall, it’s a list of amazing popstars (with a shit pop thing at the bottom).

1. Marina & The Diamonds

At the very start of the year, in a piece about popstars’ imperial phases, we wondered which acts might enter their imperial phase in 2015. “Marina looked like she had the potential to enter an imperial phase,” we wrote, “but we’re not convinced the ‘FROOT’ campaign to date has laid appropriately robust foundations.”

Actually, that was a load of shit.

With the added context of ‘I’m A Ruin’ it’s clear that what’s actually happening now is the meticulously orchestrated rebirth of an actual pop superstar. And it’s very exciting.

Marina’s official site

2. Tori Kelly

Pop needs a new superstar and Tori may be just that. She’s been knocking around for a few years, she can be quite good on Twitter, and her backstory’s full of stuff like American Idol auditions, self-released music and a record deal at the age of twelve, but having signed with Scooter Braun she’s now on Capitol Records.

Tori’s been working with Toby Gad, Pharrell Williams and Ed Sheeran (mind you who hasn’t) and her new single, ‘Nobody Love’, was co-written with MAX FUCKING MARTIN.

Given all that, and over a million YouTube subscribers, the new song’s off to a surprisingly slow start on YouTube – 60,000 views in two days doesn’t feel like much – but you get the impression that when they properly push the button on Tori’s career the whole thing could easily go berserk.

As for ‘Nobody Love’ itself: it seems to position Tori somewhere between Ariana Grande and Jessie J.

Tori on Twitter

3. Kygo

Kygo’s one of our favourite remixer-type people at the moment (this Seinabo Sey one‘s good, as is this Kyla La Grange one – it doesn’t really matter which one you listen to because all his stuff sounds the same) but his own tune ‘Firestone’ is also really really great.

The song’s been around since last year but we saw someone on Twitter saying that it’s getting a proper UK push in the coming months so that’s nice. (It’s already on iTunes if you want to buy it.)

Kygo on SoundCloud

4. Sharks

Katy dances with them and Rihanna is relaxed about being eaten by them but the Sharks we’re most interested in are the Swedish duo whose MAX FUCKING MARTIN co-written single ‘Wait’, released last year, is basically a supercharged Icona Pop tune.

We were thinking about Susanna and Sophia the other day and wondering if right about now might be a good time for a new single. Maybe a hundred or so words on a UK pop website will force the issue. Anytime in the next week or so would be fine, cheers.

Sharks on Twitter

5. Madonna

We’re standing by what we said on Twitter the other week: we’ll look back on ‘Rebel Heart’, once we’ve all deleted the nonsense off iTunes, as a great ten-track album. MAYBE EVEN A GREAT TWELVE-TRACK ALBUM.

Madonna on – where else – Instagram 

666. ‘Jessie J and Tom Jones’

It’s traditional, in the days that follow the Grammys, to find oneself increasingly frustrated as due to copyright nonsense each YouTube clip, each Daily Motion clip and finally every other piece of video footage capturing the evening’s performances disappears from the internet. This year, we’re not feeling quite so sad about how hard it is to relive Grammy performances, because if it means there’s zero chance of accidentally clicking on Jessie and Tom honking their way through ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’’, it’s a sacrifice worth making.