It's brand new Number One time on the singles chart. After two weeks at the top, Example's Changed The Way You Kiss Me is dumped down to the runners-up slot - to be replaced by American singer-songwriter Jason Derulo with Don't Wanna Go Home. The track is his second chart-topper, following on from his second chart single In My Head which had a similar strong entry at Number One in March last year. That single was one of three Top 3 hits taken from his self-titled debut album. This new track is lifted from a forthcoming sophomore effort Future History which is due out in September and is an intriguing record to say the least - interpolating both Show Me Love by Robin S and Harry Belafonte's Banana Boat Song. 1990s and 1950s influences in the same single is quite some feat.
You do kind of have to feel for Example here, as he was within an ace of becoming the first male solo star since X Factor winner Matt Cardle at the start of the year to spend three weeks at Number One. No male star has managed as many as four weeks at the top since Dizzee Rascal with Dance Wiv Me in July 2008 - and given that he shared credit with two other performers the record should maybe date further back to Basshunter's five week stint with Now You're Gone from January that same year.
The recent flurry of activity near the top of the singles charts (records entering at Number One and many more inside the Top 5) has sparked an indignant music industry row over the continuing viability of the concept of On Air On Sale. As enthusiastic as many were over the idea that the public should no longer be required to wait weeks between the airplay debut of a single and its shop release, in actual fact only two major labels - Universal and Sony committed themselves to the policy and there are now increasing complaints that their rivals are simply not playing fair by continuing with the old fashioned method of record promotion and focusing on first week chart positions to the exclusion of everything else.
Just about all the big new hits of the last few weeks, from Tinchy Stryder to Calvin Harris and even Jason Derulo have all charted strongly after being in rotation on the radio for 3 or 4 weeks before they were released. The MD of Ministry Of Sound records, home to Example, even admitted last week that it was vitally important for them to give their artist a Number One record to kick start his album campaign. On Air On Sale was out the window, they were going to promote the backside out of the single and build anticipation to fever pitch.
When tracks like Nicola Roberts' Beat Of My Drum are taken into account, you can see his point as well. She's gamely doing the promotional rounds to talk up a single which was supposed to be gathering momentum slowly, yet which this week languishes at Number 88 after three weeks on sale.
Yet there is a twist, for aside from the new entries this week, there are several chart moves by singles with which both their labels and radio programmers have kept faith. Lady Gaga's The Edge Of Glory stormed to Number 6 when released as an On Air On Sale album teaser back in mid May, yet the release of her album appeared to kill it stone dead and two weeks ago the track had fallen as far as Number 28. Cue a video release, the switch of promotional focus away from her other current singles to this new one and the track (easily one of her best) has a new lease of life, and this week it climbs 16-8 to return to the Top 10 after no less than five weeks away.
Not quite as spectacular, but still worthy of note is the continuing chart resurgence of Notorious by The Saturdays. A Number 8 single on first release, it too had plummeted to Number 33 a fortnight ago. Yet here it is this week, climbing for the second chart in a row and back up to Number 21 and as I write is still in the iTunes Top 20.
Take note as well of the chart form of Aloe Blacc's I Need A Dollar which recently peaked at Number 2 after climbing for nine weeks in a row from the very depths of the Top 75. That single didn't even make the airplay chart (suggesting it was finally being added to playlists) until five weeks after it was actually released.
If you conclude from all that, that nobody really knows exactly what works and what doesn't and what the correct way forward is, then you would be absolutely correct. Given that it seems to be a reliable way of orchestrating a hit, you could forgive labels for abandoning OAOS altogether, but then the arguments about lost sales to piracy that led to its creation in the first place rear their heads again. In the meantime all we can do is watch some amazing records chart low and hope they gain a toehold whilst JLS fans wait a full nine weeks before their new single that they heard on the radio is actually released to buy.
The second highest new entry of week wasn't an OAOS release either, but the anticipation for its release has rather been fed by its clubland popularity than the week or so of TV and radio airplay it has been granted. Badman Riddim (Jump) has the honour of being the first big commercial smash dance hit of the summer season, propelling its Dutch creator Vato Gonzalez straight into the Top 10. Originally an underground smash in an instrumental version, the track is granted the magic fairy dust of commercial appeal thanks to an added rap from London rappers Foreign Beggars who finally land themselves a chart single eight years after they first started making music. A track you will either love or hate - it is a certifiable Number 7 hit this week to the surprise and joy of many.
Other singles chart moves? Well actually it is a bit quiet, although Katy Perry livens things up a little by moving 24-11 with Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.), the single well on its way to becoming the fifth straight Top 10 single lifted from her Teenage Dream album.
New at Number 27 is Pumped Up Kicks from Foster The People, this the first ever chart hit from the Los Angeles based indie pop band, ahead of their debut album Torches which gets a belated UK release this week. [And a single which would have an extended chart run yet only just sneak inside the Top 20. One of the most notorious slow burning hits of its era, but I don't think I paid it much attention save for this initial line when it entered].
Also new on the singles chart are girl group Parade with their second single Perfume, the follow up to Louder which charted at Number 10 back in March. I don't think you can really blame any aspect of the release policy of their label for the lacklustre performance of this single - it is really just that nobody seems particularly bothered.
On the album chart, as I mentioned last night Lady Gaga climbs back to Number One with Born This Way after the album had been relegated to third place for the past two weeks. The highest new entry of the week is the self-titled new release from American folk singer Bon Iver, the follow-up to his 2008 debut For Emma, Forever Ago. The only chart single the star has to his name is the track Blood Bank which reached Number 37 in January 2009, but his most famous track for the moment is naturally Skinny Love thanks to Birdy's recent Top 20 hit cover.