I was just catching up on the state of the UK charts, and noticed quite an interesting pattern. Since downloads have been included in the charts, they had become quite strange and indecipherable – it was impossible to know, when a new song entered the charts at 30, for example, if it was going to rise up to the top 10 when it was released as a physical single, or if it already had been physically released, and would be out of the top 40 the next week, never to be heard of again. It was impossible to know if a new song had been a success or not, unless you wanted to look up the release date of every new entry. Following the charts became such a complex process, and the positions did not have much correlation to success or lack of it, so they were the most irrelevant they had ever been.
However, this time I checked the charts I noticed something had changed. Almost all the songs’ positions were lower this week than last, the only exceptions being old singles which had risen in the charts as their follow-up is out, and for some reason Hate That I Love You by Rihanna. I would guess that this is the effect of downloads becoming so normal that when the physical release comes around, it makes little difference to the charts. This is supported by About You Now being the first single to reach no.1 without a physical release having yet occured, a few weeks ago.
This is a good development, because the charts now make sense again, but also a bit sad for me as a persistant supporter of physical CDs. I have never bought anything from iTunes or any similar provider, because I like to get something for my money, to see my new purchase on my shelf, and I know where to get CDs as cheap as downloads anyway. I hope this change won’t eventually lead to the effective death of the CD, although I suppose I would not be upset to lose CD singles, since I only buy Darren Hayes ones these days. I think what this change heralds overall is the long-awaited settling down, after months of disruption. It will be interesting to see how things go over the next few months, as the Christmas period always attracts many big singles, such as the comebacks by Kylie and the Spice Girls. Will either dethrone the immensely popular and brilliant Bleeding Love?