I couldn't help noticing the Last.fm Artist Hype List this week. Yep, these are the artists whose stars are on the rise, according to the vanguard of tastemakers who make up Last.fm's listening community. Are you wondering what I was wondering? OK, a bit of cheese is permissible at Christmas, but where's the port to wash it down? Where is Fairytale of New York?
Further investigation shows what is going on here. Fairytale has a total of over 79,000 plays on Last.fm, including over 2,900 last week (according to this page). That compares with around 700 plays last week for Greg Lake's I Believe in Father Christmas (source, allowing for messy metadata where the same song is tagged differently). But if you start from a very low baseline, as it appears Greg, Bing and Jona must have done — whereas The Pogues did not — you can achieve very high percentage gains without exactly reaching a mass audience. See you again next year, guys, and Happy Christmas, everyone.