James Masterton's Chart Watch UK

Welcome to the online home of James Masterton, the longest-serving music writer online and author of Music Week's official UK chart analysis. Here you can find out more about James' near 30-year history of chartwatching and read the archives dating back to 1992.


Welcome to the official home page of James Masterton, the official chart consultant for Music Week magazine and author of their weekly analysis of the UK singles and albums charts.

I've been writing about the British charts online since 1992, my weekly column dedicated to telling the story behind each hit, putting chart moves and records in their full context. Across many different publications this has been essential reading for music fans since the very earliest days of the internet. Each week I've tried to tell the full story behind this week's UK charts. Who is Number One, and why? What are this week's biggest new entries? And who is this Drake guy anyway?

The site's primary purpose is to house the archives of my past work, a library of columns dating back to October 1992 and culminating in the final pieces from March 2020 when I inherited the mantle from the great Alan Jones as Music Week's official chart analyst.

But here you can also read some of my other writings, from retrospective pieces on old chart countdowns through to memories of favourite songs and other more in-depth looks at issues relating to the British music charts. Updates to these tend to be rather more sporadic than I would sometimes wish, but the latest articles can be found on the feed below, or in a more structured form by clicking on the blog link above.

Latest Blog Posts

  • Number One Very Best In The World

    The decision of Sainsbury's to pull out of music retailing raises some gloomy questions over the future of the compilation album. Given that supermarkets are where most people go to buy them these days. Is it time they stopped needing their own chart at all?

  • Mama Told Me

    The story of the greatest disco record you've never heard of - yet which for people of a certain age is embedded in their memory.

  • Shadowing Taylor

    69 years. That's how much chart history we have to play with. That history gives us almost endless statistics, longevity records, productivity records and "greatest ever" records. But with so much data to play with and with the records covering such a long period of the history of popular culture there is also room for debate on certain areas. Such as when a record might not be a record. As is the case with Taylor Swift this week.

  • All-Time Albums Highs

    As a follow-up to the previous piece, some notes on the record sales for albums and when they were achieved, along with some sobering facts about the size of the seasonal market over the past few years.

  • On An All-Time High (Or Low)

    The historic size of the overall singles market. And just what caused record highs and lows in the past. The answers may surprise you.