Music fans turn backs on stores to buy from the web

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The context of the this article was taken from www.unison.ie. ( Irish Publication )

Music fans turn backs on stores to buy from the web

IT’S Top of the Clicks. More music singles are now being sold online than in record shops as consumers increasingly use the click of a mouse to buy their favourite tunes.

Figures released by Irish music body IRMA show that the purchase of singles online has overtaken the sales of singles sold in record shops.

And the band Snow Patrol have cemented their status as the hottest group around by having a top 10 success in the Irish charts with a track that can only be bought online.

Their hit single, ‘Chasing Cars’, had disappeared out of the charts because it was no longer available to buy in music stores.

But under new rules introduced on January 1, music tracks are now eligible for the charts based on how many times they are downloaded - not by how many are bought in shops.

The move put ‘Chasing Cars’ back in at number eight, and the Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’ in the charts at number 30.

The more-relaxed rules allowed American singer JoJo to enter at number 22 with her new single which was released online. It would not normally have been eligible to chart until next week after it became available to buy in record shops.

John Pinder, the managing director of ChartTrack, which compiles the Irish chart, said yesterday that the overhaul of the rules would take time to shake up the record market.

“It has not had a massive impact so far but we think it’s going to get bigger as people start to adjust their marketing campaigns around the new rules.” He added that future music releases may be sold exclusively online. “As time moves on we could be looking at download-only releases from centre record companies to save money.”

Under the older rules, artists could release a digital download-only release, provided that it was followed by a physical release of the track the following week.

Now there is the possibility of the likes of The Beatles or Elvis could storm the charts in an almighty comeback.

There are rumours that EMI is negotiating to release The Beatles’ back catalogue as downloads for the first time, leading to speculation the band could occupy all the top 10 slots.

Last week’s top 40 Irish singles chart also marked the first time that the number of sales from downloads outstripped hard-copy CD sales.

“Ireland has moved even more quickly than any other market, including the UK, towards embracing digital downloads,” Dick Doyle of IRMA said.

“It’s remarkable that in only six months more than half of all sales are actually in digital format.”

When downloads were included in the British charts, it took almost a year before they made up 50pc of the total sales.

Article written by Jason O’Brien Jan 09/07

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