Until the 95th edition of the long-running pop hits compilation Now That’s What I Call Music! came out last week, I’d forgotten that the series existed. Lurid album covers and explosive TV advertising aside, Now doesn’t make a spectacle of itself. It just gets on with the job, quietly releasing three albums a year of the biggest chart hits, with tracklists that reflect the cheerful disorder of the UK singles chart.
But who buys Now now? If you want to hear a selection of 2016’s biggest singles, that’s what Spotify is for. Yet Now 95 sold 230,000 copies last week, making it one of the biggest sellers of 2016, across both compilation and single-artist albums. And it’s not just being bought to fill Christmas stockings; Now 93, released in March, sold 770,000. If Adele’s 25 didn’t exist, it would be 2016’s top-selling album by some distance.
Interesting. I wonder if there’s an equivalent in the US.