How’s this for a Christmas single…

Malcolm Middleton used to be in Arab Strap. He’s released solo record and one of the songs on it, We’re All Going To Die, is about to be released as a “Christmas Single” in the UK.

The “Christmas Single” is a long-lived and somewhat odd little artifact of the UK charts.

Basically, it comes from the fact that the UK market is so small that if a (not always huge) number of people all buy a single on the same day, and for a couple of days afterwards, the song stands a very good chance of getting into the official charts. Once it’s on the charts, of course, the pop radio stations must play it and thenit is on its way.

This is one of the main reasons why the UK charts move so much more quickly than the US charts. It is also the reason that underground dance music has a much better chance of reaching the charts in the UK than in the US. If every DJ in the land buys a record on the same day it gets into the charts.

And so to the “Christmas Single”. It used to be that if a single was Number One at Christmas, it could expect to have a nice bump in sales as every parent and granny would buy it for the kiddies’ stockings. This lead to a series of “Christmas Single Wars”, set up by record companies and the music press. Blur vs. Oasis was a famous one. In recent years the media feeding frenzy has expanded to include

Then there are the charity singles. The most famous, of course, is “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, but there are a raft of others. Pick your charity or cause and there is bound to be a Christmas single for it. Autism, Child Poverty etc etc.

Here’s the site: