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History of UK Official Download Chart

Downloading music, as opposed to buying discs, is now a major part of the music business and is so crucial to the fortunes of artists and record companies alike, that there is now a thriving UK Official Download Chart.

The download chart is put together by The Official UK Charts Company and it does so on behalf of the music industry.

The chart monitors downloads within a week that goes from Sunday to Saturday. So as to avoid clashing with other charts, it is published on a Wednesday afternoon. It is quite strict as to what downloads it records, only recognising permanent digital downloads (PPD). These are single tracks which are downloaded from a non-subscription service provide by an online music store; cost a minimum of 40p and last no longer than ten minutes.

Downloads that come from monthly fee plan, where numerous tracks can be collected within the fee, do not count.

The chart is comparatively young, having been created in June 2006. It was an inevitable move, given that downloads, those that were legal of course, outnumbered sales of traditional discs for the first time in January 2005. It hasn’t changed and in the middle of 2005, the official UK Singles Chart included download sales for the first time. This was seen by any as a cynical move to obscure the dire nature of single sales which was making the chart almost obsolete.

Back to the download chart and the first ever number one was Bam Thwok from The Pixies. The longest download at the number one slot was Crazy by Gnarls Barkley which stayed up there for a cracking 11 weeks.

The number one downloads in 2008 kicked off with Apologize by Timbaland featuring One Republic, which quickly gave way after one week to Now You’re Gone by Basshunter.
The two longest serving tracks in 2008 were Mercy by Duffy which held up for five weeks and for the same duration, I Kissed a Girl by Kate Perry.

The chart finished with, unsurprisingly, Hallelujah by Alexandra Burke at top spot.

So there we have it, if you want to know who’s top of the pops when it comes to downloads, consult the UK Official Download chart.


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