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A HIT NOW, AND THEN

How does an album series that arrived in 1983 maintain relevance across three decades and six formats? That's what the team at the Sony Music and Universal JV who look after the NOW compilation brand have managed to do, with the series now celebrating its 100th edition set to claim 2018's fastest selling album in the U.K. so far. 

NOW That’s What I Call Music 100 has so far sold 105k copies across its first three days on sale, according to today's midweek Official Charts update. The format regularly appears in the Top 5 of yearly best selling albums in Blighty—its ’97 edition hit #3 in 2017. 

To date, NOW has shifted 120m albums and generated more than £1bn in revenue across 35 years. In case you were wondering, British star Robbie Williams has had the most appearances throughout the various editions.

In an interview with Forbes discussing how the format has managed to maintain appeal in a changing industry, NOW’s Director of Digital Alex McCloy says there are more pop fans than ever consuming the brand's products—which also include playlists, an app priced at £4.99 a month and TV channels—and its continued success lies in investment and innovation. 

“The key aspect to NOW’s cut-through with the mass market is not only the years of investment in building a trusted music brand established in the early days, but staying culturally relevant by not fearing but embracing market change," he told Forbes.

Does he fear being replaced by the rise of user-generated streaming playlists? "There is something special about the NOW brand, it can take you back to memories of your youth, family holidays, school parties, first dates… Key artist singles have the same effect but I don’t think playlists do that yet," McCloy says.

McCloy notes that NOW brand's bank of owned playlists are some of the most successful on Spotify and that the brand has 90%+ U.K. awareness.

“The success of our playlists is about the right mix, and building that from the ground up is a big challenge for any music curator today. Trust is one of the key pillars of NOW’s DNA, it’s key to the brand's success."

 

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