“Now” albums are known for their tendency to reside in almost every home and car in the UK – it’s no surprise then that four of these albums have sat among the top ten most popular albums of the UK this year, based on the iTunes charts. Now 95 through to 97 have achieved this feat, as well as Now’s recurring Christmas albums, which are practically guaranteed to chart well towards the end of a year.
These compilation albums are loved by millions of music fans, and have been since their inception in 1983. They are cherished for a variety of reasons, including the convenience of having multiple chart toppers all in one place, as well as the collectability of the albums over the years. However, the added bonus of Now albums is that they can be a direct gateway to a different time; they can be listened to by older fans for a wave of nostalgia, or appreciated by younger listeners to teach them about popular music through the decades.
Currently, streaming individual tracks seems to be the most common method of listening to music, yet compilation albums are still widely popular – it is easy to see why this is unexpected, but it is understandable when age is taken into account. The older generation are more likely to buy whole albums in the traditional sense rather than stream tracks. Not only this, but the younger listeners are less likely to buy Now albums, perhaps due to their tame, family-based reputation and young people’s general indifference to collecting physical copies, especially of compilations.
To counter this, the Now series is also available to stream on platforms such as Spotify and Google Play, so younger audiences are also able to browse chart hits in one accessible place.
According to the Official UK Charts, Now 95 was the UK’s biggest selling album of 2016, and yet it sits comfortably with its three related releases in the iTunes top ten this year. Their popularity is certainly not diminishing – Now That’s What I Call Music! will surely continue their high-charting streak for many years to come.
Written By: Connor Winyard