Chart Update Podcast

Chart Watch UK

James Masterton’s Chart Update Podcast was first produced in January 2008 and has now been an online fixture for over ten years. Now appearing as a series of regular specials, each podcast sees James (and occasional guests) discuss the big new stories as they relate to the UK singles and albums charts. We look at the stories and sales behind the Number One single, acts who have achieved true greatness or simply peel back the layers of the most notable or controversial stories in music. This is the chart addicts’ comprehensive audio guide to the stories the big music radio stations are just too busy to tell you.

iTunes reviewers are unanimous in their praise, describing the show as:

“Factual and fascinating”

“Essential listening”

“Only wish it lasted longer”

You can subscribe each week through iTunes, just search for ‘Masterton’ or use this link to open the page for the show in the iTunes store.

Those with other podcatching applications can subscribe to the master feed at

Alternatively, the show is available on Audioboom, by clicking this link or listening to the latest episode on the player below.


  1. Hi James,
    this week’s link to your chart commentary is dead and as usual it’s not to be found by searching the website. Are you able to fix it or could you just send the text to my mentioned email address please?
    Best regards
    Klaus [regular column reader ;-)]

  2. Hi James
    Must point out the biggest drop from the top thing and why you shouldn’t make comparisons with old charts of the past and those that now contain streaming. Especially when the OCC do still publish the old fashioned sales only chart. For in that the Choir dropped only to just outside the top ten. Not such a big drop. If streaming had been around in the past it’s likely that the boyband you mentioned in the biggest drop list, wouldn’t have fallen down as much. Perhaps Elvis would have gone down even further. Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh on you, but you do like to qualify statistics given out by the OCC sometimes, so perhaps you should have mentioned this.
    Streaming is very different to sales and the combined chart different to both. But comparisons between the old sales charts of the past and the new charts should not really be made, at least not without some qualifications. Since the old format of the charts is still around, you can make comparisons with them, even though the record companies have downgraded them in value.
    As for your comment about old sales charts and streaming, you should ask some artists about them. Maybe the one that got a check for millions of streams on Spotify for the year, which amounted to less than a year’s Premier Rate charge for that site.
    Streaming maybe the thing, but when you do it you are robbing the people who make the music, only slightly less than illegal downloading.

    • It is somewhat disingenuous to say “ah, but the record didn’t fall so far on sales alone so therefore it isn’t as bad as the previous record holders”. The whole point is that to be a successful hit single today you need to command a strong level of support in both mediums – both sales and online plays. The simple fact of the matter is that the Bridge Over You record was not listened to by anyone in any great numbers, it was clearly a record bought to be looked at but not actually truly loved by any music fans. It is only logical that this failure is reflected in the singles chart and indeed it cost it dearly, selling a lowly number and without any digital streams to its name.

      The irony is that if McFly were releasing records today at the same level of popularity they enjoyed ten years ago then their songs would possibly not dip in quite the way they did, appealing longer term to an audience who are content to play them constantly.

  3. James
    My point wasn’t the level of support a record had, just your comparison with previous chart records. The level of support a record has by people listening to it is irrelevant.
    You were really making a misleading statement when you said it was the biggest drop from number one ever. At least without qualifying it! And as a chart-watcher you did see the OCC sales only chart. Or have you gone blind to it?

    • The sales-only chart is the irrelevance here and will grow increasingly so over the coming months. It remains online as a curiosity, in the same way the physical-only countdown is. In time the amount of people listening to a track will grow to account for over 90% of its ‘sales’ and will be the only true measure of a song’s popularity. Start getting used to that. The ‘official’ chart is the combination of the two datasets and it is that which informs all records and statistics for posterity. There is nothing misleading about stating that the NHS Choir has the biggest drop from Number One ever. Because that is what it has done.

  4. I almost missed the final commentary on because the link from your website James still says for w/e 12th May, not the 19th May I was looking for. But your podcast made me look again.

    I’m glad you will continue to have a home for your writing each week, somewhere. I discovered you back in 1999 before I even had internet at home and have been one of your dedicated followers ever since. You filled the gap in weekly commentary I used to lap up in Record Mirror in the 1970s & 80s. Thanks!

  5. James
    Surprised you haven’t mentioned that several online download sites have blacklisted again Beyoncé’s new album Lemonade. With only iTunes and Amazon allowing downloads from it.
    Play.Com, HMV, and Sainsbury do NOT have it for download at all. If you remember they did the same with her last album, because she did an exclusive deal at first with iTunes. It seems they are holding a grudge against her still. The CD version is however available for sale on those sites that sell them.

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