What a wild, crazy week in music. We began it contending with the fall-out from the shock death of Prince, one consequence of which was the grief-bound mass purchasing of his back catalogue which meant that he immediately dominated the early sales flashes, to the extent that over the weekend he was leading the chart race for both singles and albums in the UK. However my caution last week that this may be short lived proved to be accurate. Just as with David Bowie before him, the full "surge" of interest lasted little more than 24 hours and slowly but surely the Prince classics began to drop off the radar. Not least because the Queen herself swept regally into town on Sunday.
Unlike her previous self-titled album, the release of Beyonce's Lemonade had been telegraphed for some time, even if its exact release date remained a mystery right up until it happened. The album was a Tidal exclusive for the first 24 hours before being put on iTunes digital release. Inevitably it sold well, but rather curiously all its individual tracks did too. This was a record cherry-picked by purchasers like no other. Those with half an eye on the sales flashes for later in the week could see what was about to happen. The mass buying of Prince tracks was about to collide with a similar (if rather less tragic) groundswell of interest in some brand new Beyonce music.
That said, the impact of both was always going to be slightly muted. Both acts had for their own reasons chosen to limit their streaming availability to the premium Tidal service, thus bypassing huge swathes of the mass market which for their own reasons gravitate to Spotify, and to a lesser extent Google Play and Apple Music. This surely was only ever going to put a brake on their chart prospects.
Let's deal with Prince first of all. In the end he has just three singles in the Top 40, compared to the five managed by David Bowie back in January. The highest of these is inevitably the track seen as his signature song, Purple Rain charging to Number 6 to become the star's first Top 10 hit single in Britain since a timely re-issue of 1999 in January 1999 (when else?) saw it reach Number 10. Purple Rain was first a hit in September 1984 when it reached Number 8, this posthumous chart run at the very least ensuring it reaches its highest ever chart placing.
His other two chart entries are also from his mid-80s Revolution-backed era. When Doves Cry reappears at Number 26 whilst Kiss creeps to Number 38. Three more classics chart lower down to give him 6 out of the Top 100 this week - that's compared to the 13 managed by Bowie in January.
It is a healthier story on the Official UK Albums chart. 15 of the Top 100 records are by Prince, including three of the Top 4. Inevitably it is Greatest Hits collections which rule the roost, The Very Best Of at 2 and Ultimate at 3. Purple Rain - OST is his highest selling studio collection at Number 4, Sign O' The Times the second at Number 15.
So what of Beyonce. Her biggest hit may have charted lower but she still out-does Prince for singles chart dominance with no less than six new entries landing inside the Top 40 this week. Hold Up proved to be the most popular track from Lemonade, entering at Number 17 but it is followed in short order by Formation at 31, Sorry at 33, 6 Inch at 35, Don't Hurt Yourself at 36 and Freedom at 40. Every one of the album's 12 tracks appears somewhere in the Top 100 this week.
Inevitably Lemonade is the Number One album this week, Beyonce's third chart-topper of her solo career with one more to her name as a member of Destiny's Child. Rather fascinatingly the album hits the top of the charts with the largest number of streams to date for a Number One album, the points adding 10,000 to the album's eventual sale, 14% of its entire total. Why is that fascinating? Because again, the music could only be heard on Tidal, which her husband co-owns. Previously only a bit player in the market, the combination of having both Prince and Beyonce exclusives this week appears to have boosted its numbers, albeit of trial users, by a huge amount this week.
Lemonade is only the second Number One album in chart history to reach the summit without being available physically (that format still to come next week). The first was Dr Dre's Compton which topped the charts in August 2015.
It seems odd to relegate the Number One single on the Official UK Singles chart to a column footnote, but that's essentially what Drake is this week, One Dance spending a third week at the top. The single does however make a headline of its own. For the second week in a row its streams total well over an incredible 7 million, and this week its is rather closer to 8. A total of 7.86m plays online is enough to break the all-time record previously held by Adele's Hello.
All of this is bad news for Sia as she remains perennially the (veiled) bridesmaid. Cheap Thrills is the Number 2 single for the fourth week in a row and indeed the whole Top 3 remains static for the third week running. No Money by Galantis makes the most notable move of the week with a 23-12 climb, although not far off is DJ Snake whose tropical house cut Middle also has momentum behind it with a 33-18 jump. Little Mix also break into the Top 20 as "Hair" climbs 31-19.
All this does make this a significant week on the UK charts for one other reason. This is the first week since September 4th last year that Justin Bieber does not have a Top 20 hit single.