Downloads finally count on the (British) pop charts


The Guardian reported today that, in remarkably sensible fashion, the OCC (Official UK Charts Company) will now incorporate legally purchased song downloads on its weekly singles charts.

This is good news for several reasons.

1) It’s about time! The public has just been waiting for the industry to catch up to what’s been happening swiftly for the past few years. That is, more of us purchase our music electronically than we do physically (CDs? Huh? What are those?). So, those numbers should count, by all means.

2) It also means that something like my recent purchase of Serge Gainsbourg’s ”Cha cha cha du loup” might one day rocket to the top of the U.S. sales chart! Okay, fine. My recent purchase of Jose Gonzalez’s cover of The Knife’s ”Heartbeats”? Well, my point is that somebody’s indie rock single is gonna make it, and that just warms my heart.

3) Also, it means that around Christmastime, WHAM! (or, rather, its spectacularly coiffed members George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley) will get their just due for ”Last Christmas,” which apparently was a very popular download this year. Did I mention that the song is great for karaoke?

addCredit(“Wham: Joe Bangay/LFI”)


Comments (14 total) Add your comment
  • EP Sato

    I musta’ heard “last x mas” about a dozen times while in Miami last weekend. That is one heck of a popular track for such a now unpopular guy.
    On that tip, when the heck are TIVO recordings going to count for ratings? At the very least, records should be kept of the # of folks who give a show the “Thumbs up” sign. Given how much big brothery type stuff tivo already does, this wouldn’t be a big deal and would keep more folks “in the know” about tv shows and who watches them.

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    Last Christmas is one of the top ten most overplayed christmas songs ever. It is a good song, I mean I’d rather hear that than Paul Mc-Casio Keyboard’s Wonderful Christmas Time”.

  • Chuck_A

    Geez. I thought that was a Lords of Flatbush Stallone there on the left.

  • ceci

    i love Last Christmas…but the Butch Walker and Jimmy Eat World version better than the gentlemen above. (Not that I don’t love Wham! and secretly have make it big on my wish list…)

  • beb

    Helen, Helen, Helen…
    If the OCC is anything like Billboard, “Last Christmas” would be ineligible to chart unless it was re-released and actively promoted as a single by the record company. That’s why we didn’t see Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” bolt onto Billboard’s Hot 100 — it was #10 on iTunes, last I checked.
    Your source is pretty slow, too…the Official UK charts have been doing this for at least a couple of months now.

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    Nah Chuck, poor ol’ Georgie boy was mugged by Fonzie.

  • Jasper

    That pic of Wham! was enough to make my day on it’s own. I LOVE wham karayoke mainly because George sings in my key. My favorite to do is ‘Careless Whisper’.

  • neil

    god ur source should be sacked, downloads have been countedc in the uk top 40 for about a year now…thats homer simpson style slowness from your reporter

  • chris

    He is correct and you guys are partially wrong. Downloads have counted on the British charts this past year, BUT only if there was a physical release within the last 12 months. All songs with a physical release older than 12 months were ineligible for the charts.
    This is now no longer true. Any downlaid counts.

  • RockGolf

    What a spectacularly wrong article this is!
    1) As has been indicated by other writers, downloads have been included in UK charts for over a year. The only limitation that has been removed is that there must also be a physical product (eg: a single) available on or the week after the song charts. For example, Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” entered the UK charts at #1 entirely on downloads as the single was not available until the next Monday. Crazy Frog’s “Axel F” beat out Coldplay for UK #1 mostly on sales of downloaded ringtones!
    2) “Some indie rock single” is going to chart? You mean like Nizlopi’s “JCB Song” that hit UK #1 last December, or Sandi Thom’s “I Wish I Were a Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair”) or any of a dozen other examples of UK #1s from indie artists over the past year or two? Pay attention to UK charts much?
    3) As previously indicated, non-current tracks, unless “actively promoted” do not chart. Besides the Mariah Carey example, the Michael Andrews version of “Mad World” heard recently in a video game commercial sold enough downloads in the States to chart top 30, but the track was over two years old, and, although it never previously charted, did not qualify for the Billboard Hot 100. (Unlike the UK charts where, two years ago, it was the #1 single on Christmas week, the biggest sales week of the year.)
    Zero for three. Great batting average.

  • Ceballos

    Wow…if the post before me is entirely correct…Helin, sorry chica, but you got owned.

  • Scott

    I can’t believe this article was actually posted because RockGolf is absolutely right about the UK chart incorporating downloads (within specific guidelines)for over a year. Starting in 2007 all songs now, including album tracks and old songs, will count without restrictions. No offense Helin, but, you need to take a refresher course on journalism research.
    My question is when will Billboard adopt something similar? I know that downloads are included in our charts these days. But, I want to know when they will drop the incorporation of radio play, which is blatantly manipulated by corporate radio. We need to take Britain’s lead and release a chart that actually reflects what people want to buy (not what they are forced to listen to).

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