It is a genuine end of an era on the Official UK Singles chart this week. For those who missed last week's announcement, this is the last chart ever which will be based solely on purchased downloads and physical product. From next week online streams of individual tracks will also count towards the survey, on a ratio of 100 streams to 1 purchase and with a maximum of 10 streams of any one track per user registering for the chart. We are assured the impact will be more of an evolution rather than revolution at first, the record for weekly streams of any one track standing right now at 1.5 million - or an extra 15,000 'sales' as per the defined ratio. Nobody is going to reach Number One with streams without also selling significant numbers of downloads. At least not just yet anyway. [There had genuinely been no build up to this, the change having been discussed behind the scenes for some time, naturally, but there had been literally no talk of actually pulling the streaming trigger until Radio One boss Ben Cooper mentioned it seemingly in passing at a conference a few weeks earlier].
So who has the honour of becoming the last ever un-streamed Number One? Well despite another late-week surge it is not Ella Henderson whose two week run at the top comes to an end for now. Instead, the singles chart is topped by Gecko (Overdrive) by Oliver Heldens and Becky Hill whose early week lead turned out to be insurmountable. The story behind this single should be so familiar by now that it barely requires me to spell it out. 19-year-old Dutchman Heldens caught the eye of Tiesto and was swiftly signed to the producer's own label after just a handful of remixes. The original instrumental EDM track Gecko first appeared at the start of this year and made enough of a splash to be considered for a more radio-friendly package. Cue the grafting on of the vocal track Overdrive supplied here by former Voice UK contestant Becky Hill. Although this is her first direct chart credit she does have one hit single to her name already thanks to an uncredited turn on Afterglow by Wilkinson which was a Top 10 hit in October 2013.
His last two singles have both peaked at a none more unlucky Number 13 but Example this week lays that jinx to rest with his biggest chart hit for two years as One More Day (Stay With Me) rockets onto the chart at Number 4. The final pre-release offering from his much delayed new album Live Life Living, the rather convoluted title of the track is not by design but more a need to avoid confusion with the similarly titled Sam Smith track which sits just two places below on the Top 10. As mentioned, this restores Example to the Top 10 for the first time since Say Nothing reached Number 2 in September 2012, although the back to back Number One singles he landed in 2011 seem further away than ever.
The trio of Top 10 new arrivals is completed by another man who in the past has had Number One form but who hasn't quite hit those heights as of late. Good Kisser is Usher's first single for two years, the first cut to be lifted from a new album which will be his eighth in all. Treading a wonderfully fine line between airplay-friendly good taste and lyrical naughtiness the single charts at Number 10, perhaps surprisingly the lowest opening play by a brand new Usher single since the very start of his career back in the 1990s.
Naturally, as of next week, everything we know is wrong, for in terms of chart form it will be briefly impossible to compare like with like. No single will top the charts on streams alone but it will be hard to escape the impact that added streams of hot new singles (and indeed recurrent older hits) will have on the chart. It is worth noting that former Number One Waves by Mr Probz is the current streaming chart Number One and indeed even without that impact the track rises 9-7 this week. John Legend's All Of Me has seemed on the verge of dropping out of the Top 10 for the past few weeks but this week rises 10-9 to retain the status for an astonishing 18th week in a row. The third most streamed track in the UK last week, this almost certainly means it will go on to match or even exceed the record-breaking 20-week run clocked up by Happy earlier this year.
The biggest selling album of the week is inevitably X by Ed Sheeran which does so with the kind of sale that makes you wonder why anyone else bothered, moving 182,000 copies in a manner which makes you wonder about talk about the demise of the album. The blizzard of instant gratification tracks which had swamped the live charts at the end of last week quickly died off the moment the album itself was made available, but the ability of the album's individual cuts to chart inevitably means that there is something of a Sheeran-fest on the singles chart this week. Current hit Sing remains locked at Number 3 but it is joined in the Top 20 by Don't at Number 19 whilst Thinking Out Loud hits Number 26 [the chart debut for a single which would eventually set the record for the slowest continuous climb to Number One, as well as one other notable record before the year was out] and the previously solitary chart-eligible instant grat track One dips to Number 35. Between 41 and 100 there are no less than six further Sheeran tracks, giving him a 10% sweep of the Top 100 in the kind of domination that is pretty much unprecedented for an undeceased chart act.
Next week's album chart should at the very least show the impact of the Glastonbury festival whose live TV coverage has dominated those channels not swamped with World Cup football. Just to demonstrate what a positive effect this exposure can have on artists sales, we can note that Friday performing acts Arcade Fire (Reflektor 110-25), Elbow (The Take Off And Landing Of Everything 58-19), Lily Allen (Sheezus 49-37) and Haim (Days Are Gone 92-40) all experience chart jumps based essentially on one day of sales.