Freddie Matthews writes from London: 2012 was a year full of great and not so great music in Britain and if we were going for sheer fun and comedy value then PSY (pronounced ‘Sigh’ in Korean), with Gangnam Style, should have been the outright winner.
Not only did PSY make it into the Top 10 Selling Singles but he also achieved something else very special with his new world record of over 1 billion You Tube views. However by the time Gangnam Style was released on 15 July and not charting in Britain until November, it meant PSY had missed the top sales opportunity by peaking ever so slightly too late.
In 2011 Adele had the top seller with Someone Like You but in 2012 the eventual winner of highest selling single went to a song like no other, from Belgian-Australian Goyte featuring Kimbra, with Somebody That I Used To Know. Quite amazingly this very unusual song, which sounds a little like Peter Gabriel, spent 48 weeks in the chart and sold an unbeatable 1,318,005 copies. It also became the fourth most liked video ever on You Tube. What makes the feat even more impressive is that Someone That I Used To Know was Gotye’s debut single.
There was an unusual trend with debut singles from debut artists in the British chart of 2012. As the second highest seller, Canada’s Carly Rae Jepsen had a smash hit with her 39 week charting Call Me Maybe. The teenage pop song, about a love at first sight crush, sold 1,142,995 copies and it went Top 10 in 29 countries and No.1 in 19 countries around the world.
Britain’s third highest selling single of 2012 was, you’ve guessed it, another debut single, at least for us in the UK anyway, from a New York City band called Fun – with their song We Are Young featuring Janelle Monae. We Are Young spent 38 weeks in the chart and sold 986,000 copies in the process. Quite bizarrely in the USA the Glee version of the song gained popularity and a Billboard top spot before the original song did. This increased exposure went a long way to help the popularity process for Fun on both sides of the Atlantic.
The rest of 2012’s Top selling songs were made up of a further 3 new and 4 not so new artists. Think about it and that means that 6 out of the Top 10 sellers from 2012 were from brand new acts. The list included the X Factor winner James Arthur with Impossible at 5 and PSY Gangnam Style at 6. Only dance guru David Guetta, with Titanium featuring Sia, managed to break into this stronghold of new artists at number 4.
At number 7 was Nicki Minaj, again wearing next to nothing in the video – which naturally helped her sales from teenage boys – of Starships. She was the first of two artists in the Top 10 sellers of 2012 not to achieve a No.1 position. This song got to No.2. However we still endured her ridiculousness, if you saw the video, for 40 whole weeks.
The 8th best seller went to Jessie J with Domino, which despite being released in August 2011 carried on a further 30 weeks of 2012 in the charts. Domino has also just received a nomination for Best British Single at the 2013 BRIT Awards next month. At number 9 was Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa with Payphone and the last place in the Top 10 Best Selling Singles of 2012 went to Florida featuring Sia (that’s her 2nd appearance in this Top 10) with Wild Ones.
Surprisingly Rihanna didn’t get a mention in the biggest selling singles of 2012 but Diamonds was at No.11 and she also received a further 3 mentions in the Top 100. It’s not like she’s on the breadline now is it?
Despite scoring the UK No.1 Best Selling Album – but we’ll get to that in my next article- Emeli Sande could only reach No.14 with her single Next To Me and you may be surprised to hear that Adele’s best placing was just No.20 for Skyfall. Again read my next article for more detail on that.
2012 was a year when the British music-buying public didn’t spend quite so much as in previous years and singles sales were down by 1.1 per cent on 2011. However the market was still buoyant and exciting to say the least.
Finally, I just thought I’d point out that fortunately for us all there wasn’t a single mention of Justin Bieber, proving that 2012 was a great year for actual music!