American hip hop/pop group, the Black Eyed Peas, have claimed the first ever music single to be downloaded over one million times in the United Kingdom. The group, which was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1995, made history with their single I Gotta Feeling, originally released in June 2009. I Gotta Feeling spent two weeks at the UK number one spot and a total of 33 in the top 40.
The new record set by the single has been hailed as a major step for the Internet downloads market particularly because digital music downloads were previously not included as part of the singles chart until just over five years ago (April 2005). Previously, downloads only counted if a CD version was already available for sale in shops. However, the restriction was lifted in 2006 and downloads started to count as part of the singles chart whether the CD version was available in stores or not. This paved the way for Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy to become the first to take advantage of online sales by claiming the number one spot without selling a CD.
Today, the situation is totally different as the weekly top 40 is regularly dominated by downloaded tracks. The BBC reports that “about 98% of all single sales are now from downloads, with about 100,000 needed every week to get to the top spot” although industry experts claim that millions of money are still lost annually as a result of online piracy, while global album sales are declining.
Should online downloads be used as part of the singles chart or do they take something away from chart results? Where do you prefer to buy music singles from – online (digital copies) or in stores (physical copies).