Like socks, a Lynx shower gel gift set and a comedian from Mock the Week’s standup on DVD, Best Of collections have always played a vital role in last-minute present-buying. Not sure what to buy that cousin you see every other year? There’s a Killers Best Of for that. How about your best friend’s new girlfriend who likes pop but seems quite emo? Pink’s Greatest Hits will do nicely. Things are changing, however, and it’s all streaming’s fault.
Only two new Best Of collections made 2017’s Top 100 of biggest sellers: Vera Lynn’s Vera Lynn 100 and perennial Best Of favorite Elvis Presley’s The 50 Greatest Hits. That’s four fewer than in 2012 and way below 2008 when 13 collections made that year’s list. So does this mark the end for the hastily cobbled-together, record contract-fulfilling greatest hits collection? What streaming has given consumers is options: they can either compile their own artist playlists, swapping a single they never liked anyway for a beloved deep cut, or simply utilize most streaming platforms’ in-built artist playlists for maximum efficiency.