So imagine I had a new single which was looking like a potential hit. Would I have released it last week? It would mean effectively unveiling it to the world on New Years Eve, fighting for attention on radio stations devoting themselves to retrospective roundups of the year gone by and so in effect having just half a week of relatively normal business to promote it properly. You are right, it would be folly to try - which is why nothing new came out last week, a marked contrast to the situation in years gone by when this would be one of the busiest weeks of the year as a mass clear-out ensued. Times change.
This means that the official UK charts have a distinct air of stagnation about them as the market contracts to relatively normal levels after the post-Christmas high but with no new product in any kind of a position to break through. Hence the main singles chart story of the week was the continuing duel between James Arthur's incumbent Number One single and the ever-present challenge of will.i.am and Britney Spears. Impossible and Scream & Shout appeared to be locked together in the sales race for much of the week, opening up the possibility of a changing of the guard at the top come the weekend.
T'was not to be. The X Factor winner extends his run at the top of the charts to a third week in the last four and in the process adds to his already impressive sales total to leave Impossible just a few thousand copies short of one million sales, a threshold he will almost certainly pass during the course of this next week. Just as significantly three weeks at Number One is equal to the total clocked up by the debut singles of X Factor winners Leon Jackson in 2007, Alexandra Burke in 2008 and Matt Cardle in 2010. Only Shayne Ward in 2005 and Leona Lewis in 2006 had longer at the top, managing four weeks each - and you will note that James Arthur would have been able to claim four weeks by now but for the unusual circumstances which led to him ending up in second place during Christmas week. You will continue to see passing references to the 2012 X Factor TV series having been "disappointing" and "weak" yet its winners single has turned out to be amongst the biggest hits the show has ever produced in its near ten year history. Go figure.
Lower down, Rihanna's 'next' single Stay rebounds back to Number 7, one place ahead of its immediate predecessor Diamonds which is now celebrating a 14th successive week as a Top 10 single. If it holds on for another week the track will officially become her most-charted Top 10 single to date.
A new year lull in sales leaves the door open for a rebound in sales for some singles from before the holiday. Pitbull's Don't Stop The Party climbs to a new peak of Number 12 after having first appeared to top out at Number 13 over Christmas. Just below Pink is back up to Number 14 with the epic lighters-aloft ballad Try, its highest chart placing since it first peaked at Number 8 four weeks ago.
Honours for the week's biggest winner though must surely go to Calvin Harris. For the first time in six and a half years we can credit the BBCs venerable Top Of The Pops show for inspiring a hit single as the producer performed his single Drinking From The Bottle on the special revival edition aired over the new year. The track first released back in November as an album cut, peaking at Number 17. The single had dropped out of the chart altogether before Christmas but now returns to Number 15 in what is its highest chart placing to date and one it may well exceed as it is promoted to full single status with a video finally available to view. On the back of this, Harris' album 18 Months has also sprung back into life and rockets back to the top of the album chart for the first time since it was released in early November.