Christmas Number One 2019

The 2019 Christmas Number One will be announced at 6pm on Friday, December 20th. This liveblog features all the latest news on what remains the most scrutinised chart race of the year. Who is in contention. And perhaps importantly who is not.

December 17th: 12pm

The "official" midweek numbers are in circulation, although Radio One get an exclusive broadcast of them this evening. That means a strict 6 pm embargo for everyone else and I'll have my festive baubles cut off for breathing a word of it before then.

To fill the time, I've had fun looking at who is sitting on the #xmasno1 hashtag on Twitter. It is being kept busy by social media hard work from some of the charity singles we are already aware of, plus those supporting the rather late to the party Shipyards from The Lake Poets which marooned itself at around 4 or 5 on iTunes at the weekend but which will be lucky to break a few thousand copies in sales by the end of the week.

However, I think this one is my favourite 'under the radar' Christmas chart campaign:

Yes, a valiant effort to propel a random Spice Girls single to the top of the charts. Let's see how much support it has mustered so far shall we?

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Hmm, could be an uphill battle this one. Or maybe their focus is on Facebook:

SpiceFace

Stop right now. Thank you very much.

December 16th: 6pm

Well now, this should raise a few eyebrows.

According to Sunday afternoon figures, once more with several gaps in the data from Saturday, Ava Max's Sweet But Psycho is at present leading thank u, next by about 1,000 sales. It is almost as if the presence of two Ariana Grande tracks in the market has actually diluted the demand for her existing hit. After all, if you are going to listen to an Ariana track, why not the newer one?

Neither is the market leader, that honour going to the Ladbaby single We Built This City. However it must be stressed that this is a false position, the track has added precious few sales to its initial number from Friday and it will quickly be swamped once the full body of streaming data starts to roll in.

There's a reason nobody pays all that much attention to sales figures until the middle of the week, and this is why. But still, Ava ahead of Ariana. We now await the "official" midweek update which will arrive at 6pm tomorrow. At which point the bookmakers might start reconsidering their odds.

December 15th: 2pm

One day in to the sales race, and anyone taking a glance at the live iTunes sales might be forgiven for thinking Britain has gone charity crazy. One-off "all in a good cause" singles from the likes of Ladbaby, Flakefleet Primary, The Fire Tones as well as lower profile offerings from The Phat Chants Podcast and The Rock Choir all invaded the upper end of the sales market en masse the moment midnight on Friday ticked around.

It isn't that there are any more hopeful charity privateers than normal, it is just that as I keep emphasising actual sales of individual tracks are so low that it is a trivial matter to muster some social media support and land yourself a high profile slot on iTunes. We are talking sales in the hundreds rather than the thousands.

The first midweek figures are available, although as usual for a Saturday they are more or less entirely lacking data from the leading streaming sources. With no Apple, Spotify or even YouTube data to bite on, this first bulletin is largely meaningless so it would be misleading to reproduce any of it here in any detail.

What I can tell you though is:

- Despite my wondering just how much of a demand there would be for the Ladbaby single, the social power of a YouTuber should never be underestimated. Front-loaded with pre-orders it may be but the track has still sold enough in one day to at the very least guarantee a Top 100 place on Friday, even if it sells precious few more copies for the rest of the week.

- The new Ariana Grande track imagine is the highest seller so far amongst the "regular" pop singles, at least as far as paid sales are concerned. 

After a day stuck, the Spotify chart finally updated so we can see the numbers for Friday, even if they came too late for the midweek charts to have processed them yet.

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That's pretty much as you would expect, thank u next more than holding its own against the onslaught of holiday hits. Just bear in mind a) you have to mentally halve the number of the older songs to take their ACR status into account and b) their numbers tend to shoot into the stratosphere at the weekend. Expect Mariah, Wham etc. to be posting numbers north of 800,000 or even higher in 24 hours time. The new Ariana single? Languishing slightly in 11th place with 328,000 streams to its name. Although that still makes it the 4th most popular "normal" and crucially non-ACR track.

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