Could downloads finally hit Top 40 charts?

Written by Brett Thomas

September 20, 2006 | 17:18

Tags: #itunes #single #top-40

Digital purchases of music reached a new level of respect this week when record labels and retailers agreed that downloads should count more towards the Top 40 singles in the UK. The new rules are expected to come into effect starting January 1, 2007.

Under the current system, downloads are counted, but only one week before the CD is released. However, this is not fairly counting the sales that rack up sometimes weeks prior to a CD making it onto store shelves. For instance, "I Don't feel like dancin'" by the Scissor Sisters is the number one single in the UK this week...but it has sold 45,000 digital copies that won't even count towards its record.

The move has been pushed by the ERA, or Entertainment Retailers' Association. Originally, the "one week" rule was put into place for stores, who would not be able to avoid blank spots on their Top 40 shelves otherwise. Now, stores will be more likely to use their own sales figures as top sellers, but the actual Top 40 list will be more representative of real sales.

Sales of singles over digital methods have increased dramatically in the UK over the past couple years, moving forward from 23% in 2004 to a whopping 78% in 2006. Since digital sales can have a lead time of up to a month or more before CDs hit the shelves, many songs have been shortchanged in the Top 40 tally.

Have you got a thought on the changes? Do you even listen to "Top 40" music? Let us know your thoughts in our forums.
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