22 March 2004


Two items of opposing interest in this month's Record Collector mag:

1) The number of legal downloads undertaken in the UK during January passed the number of 12" singles sold for the first time. Over 150,000 downloads were recorded, a figure boosted by the arrival of new services such as MyCokeMusic and the Warp label's Bleep. The figures contrast with UK singles sales for 2003, which fell from over 52 million in the previous year to just over 36 million - a drop of a third - with a further 20% fall predicted for the first quarter of 2004. Singles sales have fallen by a half since 2001, and WH Smith is among those retailers withdrawing from the market.

Over-the-counter music sales overall only held up in 2003 due to albums purchases, up 6% thanks to a combination of falling prices and breakthrough acts such as The Darkness and a batch of new soul/jazz stars, including No.1 album makers Katie Melua and Jamie Callum, plus Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Hayley Westernra and Jane Monheit. Album sales hit 263 million, making £1.1 billion.

2) Following BMG's 36-song, 2-CD Ultimate Hall & Oates collection, a DVD-Video of that name appears on 17 May, accompanied by bonus-track-boosted, remastered versions of their Private Eyes and H2O sets. Revamps of Big Bam Boom and Voices follow on 26 July, with all the packages featuring bonus material, such as 12" mixes and unissued tracks.