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liamk97
post Mar 21 2018, 01:43 PM
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Photo finish: Close races for Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart
21 March 2018 | By Rob Copsey

The moments when chart history could have been altered by just a handful of sales.

Drake and Rudimental's ongoing tussle for Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart left them almost neck and neck last week, with just 937 combined sales separating the two.

Unsurprisingly, it's not the first time the race for the top spot has gone down to a photo finish in the chart's 66-year history; and since 1994 - where weekly charts and sales figures have been logged digitally and most comprehensively (capturing 99.9% of singles consumed in the UK) - there have been some seriously close races for the top spot...

All Saints – Never Ever Vs. Bamboo – Bamboogie (1998)
Sales difference: 557 copies

After a nine-week hike up the Top 10 to claim their first Number 1 single, All Saints were very nearly pipped to the post on its victory week, finishing a nail-biting 557 sales ahead of a seriously popular new entry by short-lived British house act Bamboo.

Timbaland – The Way I Are Vs. Kate Nash – Foundations (2007)
Sales difference: 566 copies

After a frustrating few weeks stuck behind Rihanna's Umbrella and Timbaland's The Way I Are, Kate Nash's closest shot at the top came in its sixth week on the chart, when it finished just 16 sales behind Timbaland. Let's hope she's not bit-tuh about it.

Boyzone - You Needed Me Vs. Geri Halliwell - Look At Me (1999)
Sales difference: 748 copies

Never underestimate the power of a boyband. Despite all signs pointing Geri heading for her first Number 1 as a solo artist with Look At Me, she just missed out, with 142,153 sales to Boyzone's 142,901.

Nelly Furtado - Maneater Vs. Sandi Thom - I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (2006)
Sales difference: 186 copies

Sandi Thom's runaway debut single was knocked off the summit after one week, but only just, toppled by Nelly's stompathon Maneater by only 186 copies.

Mike Posner - I Took A Pill In Ibiza Vs. Lukas Graham - 7 Years (2016)
Sales difference: 261 combined sales

Danish soul-pop band Lukas Graham didn't give up their chart crown easily in March 2016. After five weeks at Number 1, the top spot was taken from them by Mike Posner by only 216 combined sales.

Eminem - Like Toy Soldiers Vs. Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight? (2005)
Sales difference: 969 copies

Remember when all of Elvis' Number 1 singles (18, to be exact) were reissued once a week every week from the start of 2005? Many artists struggled to compete with the King's chart power as they all landed in the Top 5, but one artist who (just) managed to beat him to the top was Eminem with his Matika-sampling Like Toy Soliders.

Example - Stay Awake Vs. Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger (2011)
Sales difference: 266 copies

UK rapper/singer Example landed his second chart-topper in September 2011, denying Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera's Moves Like Jagger the Number 1 by just a handful of sales, kick-starting the group's record seven-week stint at Number 2.

Orson - No Tomorrow Vs. Chico - It's Chico Time Vs. Black Eyed Peas - Pump It (2006)
Sales difference: 334 copies between the Top 3

Music sales were down significantly in 2006 as the age of downloading was yet to take hold, but this Top 3 is still eye-wateringly close. US pop-rock band Orson snagged the Number 1 with their debut single No Tomorrow, just 329 copies ahead of Chico, while Black Eyed Peas were perched behind him by just five sales.
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danG
post Mar 21 2018, 01:46 PM
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What happened to Kate Nash finishing 17 sales behind Timbaland then?
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liamk97
post Mar 21 2018, 01:47 PM
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QUOTE
Timbaland – The Way I Are Vs. Kate Nash – Foundations (2007)
Sales difference: 566 copies

After a frustrating few weeks stuck behind Rihanna's Umbrella and Timbaland's The Way I Are, Kate Nash's closest shot at the top came in its sixth week on the chart, when it finished just 566 sales behind Timbaland. Let's hope she's not bit-tuh about it.

Don't know where this has come from. 'Foundations' was 3,988 copies behind 'The Way I Are' on its 6th week in the chart and they've completely overlooked the 131 copy gap and 16(!) copy gap from its 4th and 5th week in the chart.
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Midge
post Mar 21 2018, 01:50 PM
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Yes that's bizarre I agree!! ^^

Weren't Steve Miller Band and Deee-Lite TIED for number 1 in 1990, with Steve Miller Band recording a bigger % increase in sales thus claiming number 1? Or is that not included because sales back then were rounded/estimated a bit? Though aren't sales estimated a bit these days, given the lack of Thursday data? huh.gif
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Doctor Blind
post Mar 21 2018, 01:53 PM
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QUOTE(Midge @ Mar 21 2018, 01:50 PM) *
Yes that's bizarre I agree!! ^^

Weren't Steve Miller Band and Deee-Lite TIED for number 1 in 1990, with Steve Miller Band recording a bigger % increase in sales thus claiming number 1? Or is that not included because sales back then were rounded/estimated a bit? Though aren't sales estimated a bit these days, given the lack of Thursday data? huh.gif


This was from Alan Jones in Record Mirror in 1990 - they were tied on rounded panel sales but in terms of the official sales they were 8 copies apart.

QUOTE
Controversy raged last week over the tussle for the Gallup Chart’s Number One spot between Steve Miller’s ‘The Joker’ and Record Mirror favourites Deee-Lite’s ‘Groove Is In The Heart’. The latter’s record company issued a press release last week attacking the fairness of the Gallup Chart for placing the Miller track at Number One, despite both records achieving the same “panel sales” – the first time it’s happened with the Number One spot. Here Alan Jones, Record Mirror’s chart statistician and a chart consultant with Gallup, explains the complexities of the situation from the chart compilers’ point of view, while on page 31 News Plus looks at the music industry’s response to the affair.

The reality of the situation is that according to Gallup’s best guess, the Steve Miller Band single actually sold eight copies more than Deee-Lite’s and only the way in which Gallup presents the information to suit record industry tradition conceals the fact.

The “panel sales” of 2595 mentioned by WEA in its press release are a distillation of a very complex mathematical logarithm. A panel sale represents about one in every 17 actual sales, even though Gallup actually monitor a good deal more. The notion of a panel sale exists because from when the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) started to compile the chart in 1969 to when Gallup took over in 1983, the panel of shops used to compile the chart was 250 strong. Gallup immediately set about strengthening the panel for the good reason that a larger panel makes hyping very expensive and difficult, and provides statistically significant samples from which they can (and do) extrapolate a mass of marketing information for record companies. The chart is only the tip of the iceberg.

Today more than 900 shops are equipped with the Epson machines into which they key, or more frequently ‘wand’ their sales by passing a light pen over a barcode. Gallup’s computer collects data from them all. The problem is that the record industry needs to see sales represented by a constant base of shops, so all the sales are distilled back down to a typical sample of 250 every week.

Gallup breaks the UK record market down into small “cells” to analyse its sales. If for the sake of argument, there are 104 medium sized independent shops in London and Gallup has Epson computers in 26 of them which register 59 sales for a record, the assumption is that the record would sell 236 copies in the 104 shops as a whole. Similarly, if Gallup has established the fact that there are, say, 30 small Woolworths branches selling records in the South East, of which the 12 on the panel sell 18 copies of a record, they wouldn’t be far wrong in estimating that a total of 45 would be sold by the 30 Woolies together.

Sales from the shops on the Gallup panel are all “grossed up” in this way until the company has an estimate of the total number of sales for each of the 20,000 or so different titles on which it detects sales every week.

It could represent this information to the industry as an estimate of actual sales. For example, last week’s number three by Bombalurina sold an estimated 40,596 copies. The problem is, as I said before, that the industry knows where it is with its weighted average of 250 shops so everything has to be reduced to represent the wider picture in microcosm. Two hundred and fifty shops represent about a 17th of the actual UK total. All sales are therefore reduced to a 17th of their grossed up totals. Bombalurina thus ended up with 2388 panel sales.

‘The Joker’ and ‘Groove is In The Heart’ you will recall both had published panel sales of 2595. But these are “rounded” figures. The Gallup computer actually adjudged that ‘The Joker’ sold 44,118 copies and that ‘Groove is In The Heart’ sold 44,110 copies, which equate to panel sales of 2595.2 and 2594.7 respectively. So either way you look at it, ‘The Joker’ was Number One".
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liamk97
post Mar 21 2018, 01:57 PM
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^That's all very confusing! laugh.gif
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Midge
post Mar 21 2018, 02:03 PM
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Fab thanks DB - it's the rounding I meant, not estimating - interesting to read that article!
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Evil Houdini
post Mar 21 2018, 02:05 PM
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Didn't Loca People by Sak Noel scrape number one as well? I don't think that ever reached number one in the download chart either.
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Mar 21 2018, 02:06 PM
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QUOTE(liamk97 @ Mar 21 2018, 01:47 PM) *
Don't know where this has come from. 'Foundations' was 3,988 copies behind 'The Way I Are' on its 6th week in the chart and they've completely overlooked the 131 copy gap and 16(!) copy gap from its 4th and 5th week in the chart.


Exactly my thoughts! unsure.gif
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Midge
post Mar 21 2018, 02:06 PM
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Another close run I can think of (I think) was Ne-Yo "So Sick" vs. Embrace "Nature's Law" - in fact I swear I read somewhere that Embrace had 'lost sales' from somewhere that would've actually placed them at number 1 that week.
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liamk97
post Mar 21 2018, 02:07 PM
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QUOTE(Evil Houdini @ Mar 21 2018, 02:05 PM) *
Didn't Loca People by Sak Noel scrape number one as well? I don't think that ever reached number one in the download chart either.

2,105 copy gap.

QUOTE(Midge @ Mar 21 2018, 02:06 PM) *
Another close run I can think of (I think) was Ne-Yo "So Sick" vs. Embrace "Nature's Law" - in fact I swear I read somewhere that Embrace had 'lost sales' from somewhere that would've actually placed them at number 1 that week.

1,380 copy gap. Music Week didn't say anything about 'lost sales' but apparently there was some sort of theory going around.
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liamk97
post Mar 21 2018, 02:16 PM
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The OCC have now corrected themselves:

QUOTE
Timbaland – The Way I Are Vs. Kate Nash – Foundations (2007)
Sales difference: 16 copies

After a frustrating few weeks stuck behind Rihanna's Umbrella and Timbaland's The Way I Are, Kate Nash's closest shot at the top came in its sixth week on the chart, when it finished just 16 sales behind Timbaland. Let's hope she's not bit-tuh about it.
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Mart!n
post Mar 21 2018, 02:55 PM
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QUOTE(liamk97 @ Mar 21 2018, 02:16 PM) *
The OCC have now corrected themselves:


Maybe OCC have been reading the topic. unsure.gif
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Suedehead2
post Mar 21 2018, 03:18 PM
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QUOTE(Midge @ Mar 21 2018, 01:50 PM) *
Yes that's bizarre I agree!! ^^

Weren't Steve Miller Band and Deee-Lite TIED for number 1 in 1990, with Steve Miller Band recording a bigger % increase in sales thus claiming number 1? Or is that not included because sales back then were rounded/estimated a bit? Though aren't sales estimated a bit these days, given the lack of Thursday data? huh.gif

The article suggested that they were only looking at 1994 onwards, i.e. the period when almost all sales were counted. Back in the early days there were a few occasions when there was a joint number one.
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danG
post Mar 21 2018, 03:58 PM
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QUOTE(Mart!n @ Mar 21 2018, 02:55 PM) *
Maybe OCC have been reading the topic. unsure.gif

Didn't they confirm a few years ago that they knew of our existence anyway? Someone must be having a read every so often.
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Gambo
post Mar 21 2018, 04:29 PM
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I must've read that RM article by Alan Jones before, but it was interesting to read it through again and try to get a handle on the reasoning for the tied No 1. Whilst like many of us I don't pretend to have a complete grasp of all the mathematics behind it, I get the general gist and now understand that like it or not, in that period the industry preferred the 250-sample approach despite the sophistication of electronic data capture enabling a more precise - albeit still incomplete - figure to be ascertained.

As an aside, I also found it interesting that Gallup was on a typical average week receiving sales data for around 20,000 titles. Presumably this means both singles and albums, but even so it seems like a large number for what was in '90 a wholly-physical market, albeit across an increasing range of formats. Surely only a few hundred singles would ever be available at retail? I never recall seeing more than that in shops then, even including bargain bins. Amazing to think now that there are probably millions of titles logging sales and streams each frame in a digitally-led market.
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Karma
post Mar 21 2018, 04:56 PM
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I'm sure i remember Better In Time being like 200 copies behind Mercy in 2008?

It's so close for Rudimental, i think they're just going to miss out again which is a shame and then Shawn Mendes will be #1 next week!
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Gezza
post Mar 21 2018, 06:07 PM
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QUOTE(Karma @ Mar 21 2018, 04:56 PM) *
I'm sure i remember Better In Time being like 200 copies behind Mercy in 2008?

It's so close for Rudimental, i think they're just going to miss out again which is a shame and then Shawn Mendes will be #1 next week!

Yes it was 302 copies. In the article's defence it does claim to be a comprehensive list of close run things- just "some" biggrin.gif
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JCM20
post Mar 21 2018, 06:13 PM
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QUOTE(danG @ Mar 21 2018, 03:58 PM) *
Didn't they confirm a few years ago that they knew of our existence anyway? Someone must be having a read every so often.


They know who we are?! ohmy.gif
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Mar 21 2018, 07:50 PM
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QUOTE(Karma @ Mar 21 2018, 04:56 PM) *
I'm sure i remember Better In Time being like 200 copies behind Mercy in 2008?


Revenge for her keeping Eric Prydz off by about 90 copies with her coronation single.
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