9.6 million. That's apparently the number of worldwide streams clocked up in just one day by Kendrick Lamar's new album To Pimp A Butterfly when it was released earlier this week. As you might imagine this gave him something of an edge in this week's race to the top of the Official UK Album chart, one which he was to retain right the way through to the weekend. Not that it was a foregone conclusion however and although the American rap star does indeed claim his first-ever Number One album this week he does so by the small matter of 572 chart sales over his nearest competitor, Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour. Nonetheless, it is still far and away the highest charting record of his career, easily beating the Number 16 peak of his 2012 debut Good Kid M.A.A.D. City.
The Official UK Singles chart appears to be going through yet another of its quiet periods, to the extent this week that of the 40 biggest selling singles this week, no less than 24 either remain in place or move up and down by no more than two places. This becalming extends to the Top 2 with Sam Smith and John Legend holding firm with Lay Me Down at the top of the charts, the record they replaced King by Years & Years remaining in the runners-up slot.
The Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney triumvirate move back up two places to Number 3 this week to re-take the chart peak they first scaled a fortnight ago with FourFiveSeconds. The single now moves into pole position as the most streamed track of the moment, its total for this week hovering just below 2 million plays (by contrast the current overall Number One single is lagging badly in the streaming stakes and is only the 40th most played track of the week). Just below there is a rather pleasing new peak for Hold Back The River by James Bay which leaps 10-4 to beat its previous singles chart high of Number 8. Coming just a few short weeks after Hozier's Take Me To Church rewrote the record books for slow chart climbs it is worth noting that Hold Back The River reaches a new high in its 17th week as a Top 100 single and its 15th as a Top 75 hit. Truly the era of the slow burner is upon us.
So in a quiet week for new singles, the highest new entry of the week cannot even reach the Top 10, club track So Freakin' Tight by Tough Love making its chart debut at Number 11. The pair are from London and signed a major label deal at the tail end of last year following a growing reputation for their remixing skills.
Also new to the Top 40 this week are Time Of Our Lives from Pitbull and Ne-Yo (taking time to catch fire but finally doing so with a 51-28 climb), Firestone by Kygo featuring Conrad (53-37) and finally The Rhythm from MNEK which enters at Number 38 to give the star his first ever solo Top 40 hit single following his appearance on Gorgon City's Number 4 hit Ready For Your Love in February last year.