Now! That’s What I Call Music #1-#100: the statistics

Well, I meant to post this back around the end of July, shortly after I finished my Now! marathon…but…life got in the way.  What can I say?  I’m a busy girl.

But seeing as Now! #101 is out today, I thought I’d better do my wrapping up of the first 100 entries before we move onto the new era!

I remember that as I gradually listened to all the Now! compilations, they seemed like more and more of a long slog every day.  This is partly due to (a) the fact that every project gets boring after a while and (b) my considered and consistent opinion that pop music has got gradually worse over the course of my lifetime.  However, the stats also show that Now! compilations have got longer over time, although they seem to have levelled off in recent years due to the fact that nobody’s interested in increasing the amount of data you can fit on a CD anymore.

Average track number of Now! compilations for each decade:

  • ’80s (Now! #1 – Now! #16): 31.1875
  • ’90s (Now! #17 – Now! #44): 38.6071
  • ’00s (Now! #45 – Now! #74): 43.0667
  • ’10s (Now! #75 – Now! #100): 44.1154

It also seemed like there were a good number of occasions where I was all like ‘ooh! I’ve seen this song performed live by the actual artist!’ or getting excited about the fact that I was going to see the artist soon.  Apparently, that didn’t happen quite as often as I thought it did:

At the end of the Now! marathon on 20th July 2018, I had seen 60 of the 4,020 tracks on Now! compilations performed live by the original artists, and I was scheduled to see 49 more at various gigs and festivals, some of which I have now seen.  That still leaves a massive 3,911 tracks that I have never seen live, though – most of which I have no interest in seeing!  Maybe I’ll revisit this particular statistic at some point, but I am definitely not going to be doing a similar thing to the Band Aid baby bucket list with this one!

Of the 4,020 tracks on the first 100 Now! compilations, there were 46 songs that were repeated across compilations.  21 of these were on disc two of Now! #100, which I let slide because it was a special celebratory entry, but that still leaves 25 tracks annoyingly taking up slots that could have been given to new tracks.  The most egregious offender was Candi Staton’s You’ve Got The Love, which was featured three times – on Now! #19, Now! #36, and Now! #63.  Florence & The Machine then did an identical-sounding pointless cover of it, which was itself featured twice – first on Now! #74 and then as a duet with Dizzee Rascal on Now! #76 – meaning the song has been featured on Now! compilations a total of five times.

Repeated artist alert!  I was annoyed by an artist being featured more than once on the same Now! compilation a total of 141 times.  Over 100 of these occurred during the ’10s, which has been an era of collaborations – it’s not at all uncommon for there to be four or five artists credited on a track.  5 of the instances were repeated artist mega alerts, which meant an artist was featured THREE times on the same Now! compilation.  The reason this annoys me so much is that when I dabbled in DJing during my university years, I was always taught that you shouldn’t feature songs by the same artist during a single set – it needs more variety.  As such, when it happens on a professionally-created compilation, it’s fairly infuriating!

As mentioned, there were 4,020 songs on the first 100 Now! compilations.  That’s a lot of songs to review in 100 days, which is why the vast majority of what I wrote was one-line stuff like ‘slow and dull’ or ‘happily nodding along here’.

Not on Spotify: of the 4,020 tracks, 152 were not on Spotify, which is highly irritating when you’ve developed the lazy 21st century habit of adding stuff to a playlist with one click.  I mitigated this in three ways:

  1. ‘Not on Spotify’ Type 1: lazy tribute version substitute.  If Spotify didn’t have the original but had a tribute/karaoke style version instead, I just slotted that into the playlist to save having to perform a Type 2, which took effort.
  2. ‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).  This involved having to pause the Spotify playlist, navigate to a browser tab with YouTube on it, and press play on a video.  SUCH HARD WORK.
  3. ‘Not on Spotify’ Type 3: Can’t Find It Anywhere!  This only happened once, with Omero Mumba’s Lil’ Big Man on Now! #54.  The track is apparently so awful that nobody wants to put it on Spotify, YouTube, or DailyMotion, and I certainly wasn’t going to go down the old-fashioned route of downloading it (who puts that much effort into listening to a song nowadays?), so it was the one song in the whole Now! marathon that I didn’t actually listen to.

144 times I had to do the hard work of pausing my Spotify playlist.  144.  I also listened to 7 soulless tribute covers, and had to skip 1 song, which, while it sounds like it was for the best, means that in some respects I didn’t actually achieve 100% marathon completion.  Please just put your stuff on Spotify in future, music people.

A list of the most featured artists on the first 100 Now! compilations:

Robbie Williams: 29 compilations
Kylie Minogue: 24 compilations
Calvin Harris: 23 compilations
David Guetta, Rihanna: 21 compilations
Britney Spears, Coldplay, Girls Aloud, U2: 20 compilations
Katy Perry, Sugababes: 18 compilations
Tinie Tempah: 16 compilations
Boyzone, McFly, Justin Timberlake, Take That: 15 compilations
The Black Eyed Peas, Little Mix, Jason Derulo, Phil Collins, Oasis: 14 compilations
Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Erasure, Gabrielle, Ne-Yo, Ronan Keating, Tina Turner, will.i.am: 13 compilations
Backstreet Boys, Chris Brown, Flo Rida, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Olly Murs, Pet Shop Boys, Pink, Queen, R Kelly, The Saturdays, Steps, Texas, UB40: 12 compilations
Akon, Atomic Kitten, The Beautiful South, East 17, Elton John, Enrique Iglesias, Eternal, George Michael, Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, Spice Girls: 11 compilations
Duran Duran, Emeli Sandé, Jessie J, Kanye West, Louise, Maroon 5, Nelly, One Direction, Rita Ora, S Club 7, Sean Paul, Taio Cruz, Wet Wet Wet: 10 compilations

Well done, Robbie.  That record will take some beating.  It doesn’t even count all the times he was featured as part of Take That and as part of charity singles.

And finally: the record for longest gap between first and latest appearances (not counting the repetitions of UB40 and Phil Collins on Now! #100) is held by U2, who first appeared on Now! #5 (released 5th August 1985) with The Unforgettable Fire and most recently appeared on Now! #99 (released 23rd March 2018) with You’re The Best Thing About Me.  That’s a gap of 32 years and 230 days, which is nearly as long as I’ve been alive!

See you in 2051 for the Now! #101 – Now! #200 stats!

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