The Jubilee Bump: How The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Is Boosting UK Music Sales
The Jubilee Bump: How The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Is Boosting UK Music Sales


Robbie Williams performing at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace on Monday (June 4). (Photo: Getty)

As the U.K. awaited an in-depth post-match report on the effects of the four-day (June 2-5) Jubilee celebrations on the British economy, new "midweek" sales data from the Official Charts Company (OCC) shows that many artists on the bill of Monday's gala concert outside Buckingham Palace are reaping the benefit.

Chief among them are Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth Band that he put together for the Jubilee-inspired "Sing" (Decca/Universal). The album holds at No. 1, with last week's total sales of 40,000 matched by the same number in just three days of the current chart week, to last night (Tuesday).

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The title track single, which debuted at No. 11 on Sunday, has climbed to No. 1 in sales since then. "Need You Now," covered by Barlow and Cheryl Cole at the concert, re-enters at No. 26 in its original Parlophone/EMI version by Lady Antebellum. There are also significant sales spurts in the new midweek figures for Ed Sheeran, Jessie J and Kylie Minogue, all of whom performed on Monday.

Gennaro Castaldo, head of press & PR at HMV, says that business has been strong for Jubilee-connected titles. "We've seen a noticeable pick-up, on both physical and digital formats, many of which are surging back up the charts with strong week-on-week increases," he says. "Obviously the televising of the Jubilee concert and subsequent media coverage is driving much of this, along with a greater-than-anticipated feelgood factor.

"The biggest beneficiary is the 'Sing' project, which looks to dominate both the official singles and albums charts come the end of the week. But the likes of Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Tom Jones and Kylie - already all boosted by their presence on Saturday's [BBC1 talent series] 'The Voice' - have also done incredibly well. Not surprisingly classic Beatles, Elton, Madness and Stevie Wonder catalog, to name a few, have also re-entered the lower reaches of the charts off the back of it."

Three British-themed albums are in the top ten of this week's OCC compilation chart: "Now That's What I Call Britain" (Decca/Universal/EMI TV) at No. 4, which leaves no patriotic stone unturned, from the Band of the Coldstream Guards' "The British Grenadiers" to the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset"; Sony Music's rock and indie collection "Made In Britain" at No. 8 and EMI TV's "Britpop Anthems" at No. 10. BBC Video is due to release a DVD of highlights of Jubilee event highlights, including coverage of the River Pageant, Service of Thanksgiving and Carriage Procession (but not the concert), in the U.K. on June 18.

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The OCC said in a release that no less than 51 products connected to the Official Singles and Albums Update are connected to the weekend's celebrations.

Before the festivities began, commentators were pessimistic about the "Jubilee effect." The Huffington Post wrote yesterday of a "Diamond Jubilee hangover," quoting predictions that the FTSE would open 25 points down today (Wednesday) after its extended closure. In fact, it swiftly rose 44 points, and by just after 4pm U.K. time, was up 108 points on last Friday's close at 5,368,68.

Kylie Minogue at the Diamond Jubilee concert (Photo: Getty)

The Financial Times reported last week
that the long weekend, which incorporated both the spring bank holiday Monday and an extra bank holiday on Tuesday, "could disrupt quite significantly" growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for both the second and third quarters of 2012. Especially if, as often happens around the longer Christmas and New Year holidays, a significant number of workers opted to add the Wednesday-Friday period as further days off.

The Bank of England said in its May inflation report that it expected the double holiday to take 0.5 percent off GDP in Q2. It's widely hoped that any Q3 fall will be offset by the retail injection of the London Olympics (July 27 - August 12).

The extra national holiday for last year's Royal Wedding, on April 29, accounted for a 0.4 percent dip in Q2 output. In April this year, the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimated that each U.K. bank holiday -- of which there are eight in a regular year -- costs the economy £2.3 billion. While the retail, wholesale, hotel and restaurant sectors gain from the leisure time, offices, factories and construction sites obviously lose out.

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The difficulty of accurately analyzing the effect of the extra June 5 holiday was emphasized by a Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) forecast. That projected a best-estimate loss of £1.2 billion to the economy, but quoted a "broad margin of error" that could actually swing into the black, by as much as a £1.1 billion boost to GDP.

A report in macleans.ca on Sunday, citing estimates from the DCMS, Impact Assessment, Time magazine, london.gov.uk, the Center for Retail Research and Visit Britain, gave a figure of $1.1 billion of tourist money coming into the economy, but $1.9 billion going out of it in lost working days. It put the projected value of Jubilee-related purchases at $823 million, with a further $128 million spent on alcohol, but security for the high profile events was costed at $157 million, with $5 million more for public viewing arrangements.

Prime Minister David Cameron was in unsurprisingly bullish mood on Tuesday, describing the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics as a "giant advertisement" for the United Kingdom. "People obviously say that bank holidays aren't good for the economy," he said. "But I think this year we have these two extraordinary events, 60 years of Her Majesty on the throne and the Olympics.

"These are moments when we get the chance to show off the best of Britain and that includes the institutions, the past, the history, the pageantry that we have seen today. But it also includes the great universities, the music, the arts, the culture, and, yes, the economy and what a great place this is to start a business. I am hoping we can wrap all those things together and really make the most of this year."

As previously reported, the BBC has claimed the highest TV ratings of 2012 for its live broadcast of Monday's Jubilee Concert on BBC1, with an average of 14.7 million viewers, a 57.4 percent audience share and a peak figure of 17 million.

Additionally, the official Royal YouTube channel received more than 37.5 million views of Jubilee events during the four-day celebrations.