hits]

Hits - also commonly known as The Hits Album - is a long-running compilation album series containing contemporary chart music. It originally ran in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe for over twenty years from 1984 until 2006. It was compiled as a joint venture, variously between the compilation arms of the Sony Music, RCA/BMG, and Warner Music groups to rival the Now That's What I Call Music series that had launched a year earlier in 1983, compiled by rival companies EMI and Virgin. Initially, the Hits brand was arguably as popular as its main rival and all of the first eight volumes achieved at least a platinum BPI award, with several of the very early albums going multi-platinum.
During 1989, five years into the Hits series' run, a drop in sales resulted in several re-brands meaning that for a period of time, the series lost momentum with the release pattern and the numbering of each volume.
The series was briefly retired, and in 1992, there were not any Hits compilations released. The following year, BMG partnered with compilation specialist company Telstar Records for a brief run of five volumes of the Hits 93 and Hits 94 single-CD/MC/LP compilations.
In December 1995, BMG and Warner Music partnered for a new series of Hits albums, and Hits 96 was the first compilation containing the relaunched brand. This proved very successful, and once again the Hits series started to rival the success of the contemporaneous Now releases of the time. Unlike the earlier Hits output of two issues a year, there was a notable increase of up to five compilations, and instead of a volume or issue number, they all have varied titles: Hits, New Hits, Fresh Hits, Big Hits and Huge Hits – this title is then always followed by the year of release; for example, Fresh Hits 1997.
In December 2000, Hits 2001 was released, and this indicated that in 2001, there would be a continuation of the standard release pattern of New, Fresh, Big, and Huge Hits. However, the compilers decided to rename Hits to "Music: The Definitive Hits Collection", and the new series was billed to contain a much broader range of chart hits designed to appeal to buyers of the hugely successful and long-running Now That's What I Call Music series.
Finally, after two volumes of Music in 2001, the end of the year saw "Hits 50" released, and this was a return to the original numbering format the Hits series had long abandoned in 1989. This lasted for eleven volumes and continued to Hits 60 in 2004, after which, there was a return to having random Hits titles and sporadic release dates again. By 2006, almost twenty two years after the first Hits Album was released, the tired brand could not compete with the evergreen Now series. Seen as no longer profitable or relevant, the last Hits album was called Summer Hits 2006 and this left the Now That's What I Call Music series as the only hits compilation brand still going strong on the UK Compilation Album chart as of January 2024.
The Hits Album was also a well received compilation series in the rest of Europe, and there are several European variants.In 2014, Warner Music released the one-off download compilation Top Hits, which could be considered a revival of the series, and since April 2019, Sony Music has released budget compilations under The Hits Album name in partnership with Universal Music under their UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)/Universal Music Recordings label.

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