It was almost certainly no coincidence that the week that digital streams were added to the sales tallies used to compile the Official UK Album chart just happened to be that of the 2015 edition of the Brit Awards, the British music industry's annual awards ceremony that somehow always manages to create at least one notorious moment. And if the sight of Madonna tumbling backwards off a stage is your thing then it certainly delivered in spades.
When the news of the chart changes was announced this writer allowed himself to cheekily speculate that Ed Sheeran would end up topping the historic first chart using the new methodology. In the event he doesn't, although it is a close run thing and his presence at Wednesday night's ceremony almost inevitably helped him to a sales boost, pushing X back up to Number 2. In the event it is the other man of the moment who stands triumphant. Sam Smith's In The Lonely Hour claimed 38,000 in downloads and sales and enough streams of its tracks to qualify for 2,900 additional 'sales' to become the biggest selling album of the week once again. This is now the fifth time the album has been at the top of the charts, making him the first male solo artist to manage such a feat since Meat Loaf had five different spells at Number One with Bat Out Of Hell II in 1993. The 21st-century record for this sort of chart yo-yo is currently held by two women - Adele and Emeli Sande whose albums 21 and Our Version Of Events have each had seven different spells at the top of the album chart.
More on the Brits shortly, but first we must note the Official UK Singles chart which somehow manages to be rather still and yet very busy at the same time. The stillness comes at the very top with an all-static Top 5 (following last week's all-static Top 3). That means inevitably another comfortable week at Number One for Ellie Goulding and Love Me Like You Do, the single now with four weeks at Number One to edge out the three week run of her first chart-topper Burn and become officially the biggest hit single of her career.
Just failing to break into the Top 5 then are David Guetta and Emeli Sande as What I Did For Love vaults 20-6 to become a Top 10 hit for the first time. Just behind them is the highest new entry of the week as Kelly Clarkson lands her first Top 40 hit in just over a year as Heartbeat Song enters at Number 7. It is her ninth Top 10 hit since she made her UK chart debut in 2003 with Miss Independent and her highest charting since Mr Know It All reached Number 4 in November 2011.
The Swedish House Mafia may well be no more, but that does not appear to hold back its members from continuing to collaborate. Hence the arrival this week at Number 22 of the pairing of Axwell and Ingrosso with Something New. If one ignores the Swedish House Mafia singles on which the pair both appeared this is Axwell's highest charting single as a directly credited artist since his own I Found U reached Number 6 in August 2007 whilst Sebastian Ingrosso was last in the charts under his own steam in July 2013 when Reload charged to Number 3.
Also new this week are London dance outfit The Disciples with They Don't Know At Number 24.
Now onto the singles which get a bump thanks to their Brit Awards recognition. Leading the charge is album chart leader Sam Smith who sees his track Lay Me Down charge to Number 15 following his performance of the track at the ceremony. George Ezra sang his 2014 hit Budapest and watches that fly back up the chart to Number 18 whilst Paloma Faith's water-drenched rendering of Only Love Can Hurt Like This sees the haunting track make a chart reappearance at Number 32 in its first Top 40 appearance since September last year. The single first peaked at Number 6 last May. Ed Sheeran has a brand new Top 40 hit to add to his collection as his choice of Bloodstream for his live Brits appearance makes the chart at Number 35, beating the Number 65 it first scaled as an album cut in July 2014. Surprise Best British Group winners Royal Blood were also invited to perform although they can only reach Number 43 with Figure It Out - still a brand new peak for the single which first crept to Number 50 in August 2014. They fare slightly better on the album chart though as their self-titled debut charges back up the charts to Number 3, its first Top 10 showing since September when it first debuted at the very top of the charts.
But I've kept you in suspense long enough. What of Madonna, whose cape-related tumble at the event's climax meant that she stole all the headlines next day. Well, the Number 26 entry point of Living For Love will raise more than its share of eyebrows for being so low. It must be remembered though that this was a midweek release, the track only available for direct purchase for the first time on Wednesday so it has just four days of sales to its name. Further, it should be noted that the only sales that counted were direct purchases of the track, the vast majority of its downloads actually coming through those who received it as an instant grat for pre-orders of her forthcoming new album Rebel Heart, none of which were eligible to count for the singles chart. If the single stalls here it may well provoke more comment, but in truth, this will be rather par for the course given her recent chart form, 2012 album MDNA spawning just one Top 40 single, Gimmie All Your Luvin' bombing out at Number 37. Still afforded legend status she may be, but the 56-year-old star has long moved beyond the ability or perhaps the need to have large hit singles.