Your nan. She has identifiable tastes. She likes comfortable knitwear and a nice tea, and she absolutely does not like the iPad or any occasion when the bus is late. She is ambivalent towards garlic bread, which she enjoys but does not understand. She's very set in her ways, your nan, which makes the revelation that she is actually part of the most influential consumer force in the UK new music industry a surprising one – you didn't have her down as an avid Fire in the Booth listener, after all. Let me explain. Album sales figures for artists releasing debut records in 2016 were collated this week, with excessively hyped artists like ZAYN (who sold 65,208 albums), Blossoms (74,155 copies shifted) and BBC Sound of 2016 winner Jack Garratt (62,954 sales) releasing their first LPs. But the title of best selling debut artist did not go to any of them. In fact, one man not only sold more than all the other debutants – becoming the year's only gold certification (which requires 100,000 sales) for a debut – he even sold more than wet rock tycoons Biffy Clyro and floppy piano man Tom Odell.
Ladies and gentleman, introducing the best selling British debut artist of 2016…
You see, the thing about your nan is that she really loves The Chase, the ITV teatime quiz show featuring a few average Joes and Joannes trying to outwit a professional nerd, and, of course, that lovely Bradley Walsh. He is so cheeky and wasn't he good in Coronation Street? In 2016, Walsh released a debut album called Chasing Dreams – featuring covers of songs like "Mr Bojangles" and "Fly Me To The Moon" –and, as reported by Music Business Worldwide, Walsh absolutely bodied the competition with sales of 111,650. Because of nans, Bradley Walsh sold more records than Skepta. Dear BBC, he was the sound of 2016.
If last year was the year we discovered that old people are fucking everything up for everyone else in most divisions of society, then here is that notion's final sucker punch. The UK music industry is changing, and while we're all sat at home making Spotify playlists and donating £0.04 per stream to our favourite artists, your nan is pulling into Tesco, getting 3 CDs for £10 and sending her favourite Corrie characters to the height of success. Let this be a lesson to all of us.
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