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Digital distribution shaping the UK singles chart April 3, 2006

Posted by rockysays in general, hmm...interesting, music.
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This week's UK no.1 single, Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", is the first track to ever reach no.1 on downloads only. The CD single is released this week, which I'd imagine will ensure that the track stays at no.1 for at least another week. It shows that legal downloads are really starting to drive the UK singles market. Not so long ago James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" and more recently Orson's "No Tomorrow" climbed slowly to the top position after weeks on the chart, the way that singles used to 15 or 20 years ago, before aggressive first-week CD single pricing and pre-release airplay blitzes saw to it that if a single didn't reach no.1 in its first week of release, then it was highly unlikely that it would get there at all. Now that there is a delivery mechanism that isn't subject to the kinds of desperate marketing that have been commonplace in the CD singles market for the last few years, tracks can earn chart placings almost on merit alone.

Additionally, over the last few years CD singles (in the UK) have mainly been bought by children and young teenagers, who I think it's safe to say generally prefer to listen to glossy throwaway pop performed by a bunch of grinning idiots just out of stage school. On the other hand, I think it's safe to say that people who download music legitimately are generally people who are actually interested in music. The net result of that is that we are now seeing tracks by people who actually write their own music and play their own instruments sitting at no.1, which, in my opinion, is a very good thing.

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