Sunday, 20 July 2008 
I wish it could be Christmas chart classics every year PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 December 2007

From Slade classic Merry Xmas Everybody to Leona Lewis' A Moment Like This in 2006, the Christmas Number One is one of the most eagerly anticipated aspects of the festive season – but that's all set to change forever this year, according to one of the UK's biggest names in music downloads.

Ever since the first Christmas Number One – Here In My Heart by Al Martino in 1952 – the singles charts have always been based on record sales but the charts were amended in 2005 to also take into account digital downloads of singles available in the shops.

But in January this year new rules were introduced meaning that download sales now count irrespective of whether or not the track is on sale in the shops. And according to mobile network 3, the UK's second biggest music download provider, it signals the end of the traditional Christmas pop charts, with the possibility that the festive Top 10 could be forever filled with the same classic yuletide hits from the past four decades, or even Christmas carols.

John Penberthy-Smith, 3's Marketing Director, said: 'As people get into the festive spirit over the forthcoming weeks, there's nothing to stop them downloading Christmas favourites from yesteryear, be it Wizard, Wham or even Walking In The Air from The Snowman. There could even be a rush to download a favourite Christmas carol into the charts.'

The Christmas Number One spot was virtually owned by The Beatles in the 1960's, with a run of four over a five-year period, but it wasn't until the 1970's that the all-time classic Christmas-themed singles hit the top spot, such Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade (1973), Lonely This Christmas by Mud (1974) and Mary's Boy Child by Boney M (1978).

In more recent times the hotly-contested honour of scoring the Christmas Number One has fallen to the likes of Cliff Richard (twice), the Spice Girls (three times) and even Bob The Builder.

Last year, an estimated 79% of the singles sold in the UK were legal downloads purchased from sites such as 3MusicStore or iTunes, contributing to the 65.1m singles sales in 2006 alone - nearly double the size of the singles chart of 2004*.

3MusicStore has 1.2 million tracks ready for download, costing £1.29 a track, plus 4,000 videos, at £1.49 a video.
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