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The music may be rubbish but so is the counting . . .

by Seb Chan on March 2nd, 2007

Alex Malik writes on the lack of reporting of digital downloads in Australia and supposes some of the reasons for this.

Why are digital only singles discriminated against? No one outside the ARIA inner sanctum knows how many authorised Snow Patrol downloads were sold last week or this summer. It’s an industry secret. Could it be that a #1 digital only single might only appear at #5, or #10, or #15 on a combined digital and physical chart? If so, would this demonstrate that the Australian authorised digital download market is not nearly as developed as the Oz recording industry would like us to believe?

Further, no matter how popular the song, it can’t be certified gold or platinum. Therefore an artist who choses the digital market rather than the physical market cannot be recognised for their commercial success. While for record companies, the physical CD single “priorities” can “ship” gold or platinum based on the quantity of CDs sent to stores but not sold to consumers, genuine download hits purchased by consumers go uncertified and receive little recognition.

The disparity in treatment between artists who chose the digital market and those who stick to the traditional physical market is best characterised by the story about the Australian artist who reportedly shipped 4 times platinum to record stores in November, only to see all of the CDs returned to the record company in the following February. Obviously it wasn’t a digital download-only release!

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