The UK music charts have been opened up to the Long tail with the decision to count downloads whether or not there is also a physical copy of a single or available. A number of songs which charted last year or earlier were back in the charts last week and for the first time a group with no record deal has charted. Koopa reached no. 31 purely through downloads; they know have the privilege of being a wanted act, even from companies that have previously turned them down.
So anything and everything can now make it to the charts. If an act can get their song on one of the counted online stores then there is a way for them to get chart and radio exposure without going through a record deal.which potentially opens up the charts beyond the safe, bland, manufactured pop that can prevail.
But as an EMI spokesman said, it could also open the possibility of the whole of the chart being the Beatles for a while if they release those songs digitally! Over Christmas I bought the ‘new’ Beatles album Love. From a documentary and the sleeve notes, the people involved in the remix are all over the moon how revolutionary and brave they are being for remixing these songs. (Have they never heard of The Grey Album?) And I like the album a lot. But I was struck by a thought – am I liking the music because it is good or because I grew up with it almost always on in the background so I like it because it is familiar.
It’s about time downloads were taken into account. The music industry has dictated the way people listened to music for far too long; first with LPs, then tape and CD. Digital music has ripped that control away and freed up the market.
Does this sound like a soapbox? Good!!!!