A band called Gnarls Barkley (which looks like the kind of letters one picks up at Scrabble…) has a number one in the UK charts today, with a song called Crazy. Full story here.
It doesn’t matter that I haven’t heard of it. My children have. (And, believe it or not, my wife as well). What matters is the following:
- 1. It is the first download-only track to make number 1 in the UK
- 2. Two weeks ago it topped iTunes.
- 3. It has reversed a recent trend (maybe the last 10 years) where the biggest selling week for a single was week 1, driven by aggressive (and expensive) marketing.
- 4. Just two years ago, CD singles outstripped downloads by a factor of about 30:1. This year download singles are outstripping CDs by 3:1.
So. Cheaper to produce and deliver and market. More sustainable chart position as well. It is only a matter of time before CDs (and DVDs) are given free with downloads to act as your “back-up” copy, and you have tiered payments for the digital version. Single-use. Multiple copies allowed provided no commercial use. Sampling allowed. Anything allowed.
And guess what? The “anything allowed” version will sell at around today’s “hardcopy” version.