#1 Record or #1 Single?

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

I have been a big fan of Kylie Minogue for roughly ten years and even more, I love to see music charts, analytics, and to break down what may have gone right or awry with marketing of any number of things. Minogue, the Australian who has had something like forty Top Ten hits in the UK, this week failed to continue that streak with her lead single “Into the Blue” from twelfth studio album Kiss Me Once. The single debuted at Number 12 on the Official Singles Chart Top 100. Meanwhile, on the albums chart, the record, which was released one week after the single was officially released (though it has been widely available online since late January), looks poised to reach Number 2, according to The Official Charts Company. Expected to reach Number 1 is George Michael.

I argue that whoever is topping the singles charts has a more youth-focused audience base and may be reaching more people in the here-and-now, whereas established artists who are not really reaching critical mass can still top the album chart due to preferences in purchasing behavior. Physical singles are harder to find or produced only rarely, a shift in the music industry that briefly displaced the UK as the world’s third largest music market (behind the US and Japan) and put Germany ahead for one year as that country lagged behind adopting digital downloads.

The even bigger hallmark of a veteran artist is to make the most impressive numbers on tour. In the US, at this point, most teenagers do not know who Madonna is, but she had far away and the most successful tour in terms of revenue in 2012 an was the highest earning celebrity in 2013. Bruce Springsteen is, who came in at second on the touring circuit in 2012, is also unknown to tweens and teens.

Perhaps these component charts are indicative of life stages – 99 cent song downloads for the 25-and-younger crowd, a record for the 18 to 45 demographic, and a $300/£200+ concert experience for Babyboomers and further aided by the so-called “pink pound.”

Which chart would you rather top? With your potential body of work, which #1 would make you feel most validated?

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (tarotworldtour YouTube)

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