It’s now over 20 years since the Battle of Britpop. For those of you not familiar with this event it was basically a competition between Oasis and Blur back in the 1990s to see which band could reach the number one spot the week they released their new singles in the UK. Blur released Country House and Oasis released Roll With It on the same week and at the end of the week the champion would be announced on top of the pops and claim the Britpop crown.
The point of this event was to once and for all decide who was the better band without relying on the subjective opinions of fans or journalists. The result of the competition would provide hard data to suggest which band were better. In the end Blur were announced victorious and they claimed the top spot on singles chart outselling their Manchester rivals by 58,000 singles. However, the events that followed for the next year led to more debate again concerning the two bands because Oasis seemed to perform better than Blur after the week of the Battle of Britpop.
While Blur were victorious that week, it became widely regarded that Blur “won the battle but Oasis won the war”. While Blur’s single Country House outsold Oasis’ Roll With It that week, that year Oasis released the rest of their second album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and it became one of the most successful albums of all time. With songs on it like Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back in Anger, Some Might Say, Morning Glory, and Champagne Supernova Oasis became the biggest band in the world for a brief period in time and had clearly passed out Blur in terms of commercial success overall, despite losing the chart war.
Seen as this makes it rather hard to determine which band is better, I said I’d try to conduct an analysis to see which of the bands is regarded more highly by people today. I went for two types of evidence, first a quantitative approach to see which band is listened to more regularly. For this I took a look at the number of monthly Spotify listeners which each band has today; and the results seem to favor the Gallagher brothers outperforming Blur to the tune of 7,296,663 monthly listeners.
Now while Oasis seem to clearly beat Blur outright here I said I’d conduct a more qualitative piece of research to check people’s opinions on the two bands just because as I discussed in a previous post (Here) quantitative data can be very misleading at times. While Oasis clearly beat Blur in terms of monthly listeners, they have a song called Wonderwall which in some places is more famous than the band themselves. The song has been streamed 616,895,813 times on Spotify which is nearly three times more than their next most streamed song Don’t Look Back in Anger and it is responsible for a disproportionate number of their streams.
So a lot of Oasis’ monthly listeners could be coming from people listening to just this song instead of all of Oasis’ discography, and therefore artificially inflating Oasis’ overall monthly streams. So this proxy may not accurately measure their fan base as much as it does people who just happen to listen to Wonderwall. So I took to Twitter to ask people who really won the Britpop war and the results can be seen in the below poll.
Again this seems to favor the Manchester lads. So despite having won the chart battle years ago, it seems that Blur just aren’t remembered as fondly as Oasis are today by the majority of music fans.
By Daragh O’Leary
The data used for this stud was accessed at https://open.spotify.com/artist/2DaxqgrOhkeH0fpeiQq2f4/about at 16:48 28/01/2019
and https://open.spotify.com/artist/7MhMgCo0Bl0Kukl93PZbYS at 16:49 28/01/2019