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Moving up the download chart

PUBLISHED: 11:15 05 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 22 October 2010

RICHARD BALLS

It was recorded in a caravan with the most basic of equipment, but download sales of their home-made single could help a Norfolk band to win a slot on a top TV show.

RICHARD BALLS

It was recorded in a caravan with the most basic of equipment, but download sales of their home-made single could help a Norfolk band to win a slot on a top TV show.

When The Chill first made their single, Push, available in mp3 format at £1.50 from popworldpromotes.com - the website that accompanies the Channel 4 music series - it had little impact.

But just as word of mouth about exciting downloads has propelled The Arctic Monkeys, Gnarls Barkley and other acts to the top of the charts, so it could prove the catalyst for the five-piece still playing the Norwich pub circuit.

At the end of every month the Channel 4 series takes the band with the top downloads from the website and gives them a chance to perform and Push has already climbed to a position of 14 out of 970 bands.

On top of that, the group - who busked outside Jarrold theStore in Norwich at the weekend - have been listed on the NME magazine's website as one of the UK's top unsigned bands.

“We signed up thinking it would be a good way to get some material out there,” said guitarist Jon Farmer.

“Nothing happened for the first few months but since we started letting people know it is there, we have jumped from 4000 or 5000 to 14. All we did was to tell our friends who then passed it on to other people they knew. We also advertised it on the website myspace.com to get the word out on there and that is how it has happened.”

The Gnarls Barkley single, Crazy, made pop history in April after it became the UK's first number one song based on download sales alone.

Previously, download sales could only count towards a chart position if it could also be bought in the shops, but new rules mean that downloads can be counted as long as physical copies go on sale the following week.

More than 26 million songs were downloaded legally in the UK in 2005 - up from virtually zero two years earlier - and downloads now account for about three-quarters of singles sold.

But because many downloads are back catalogue tracks, the high street still accounts for 55pc of Top 40 sales - a slender lead that is slowly being eroded.

“Unsigned bands were always waiting for the right A&R man to come to one of their gigs and have a really good day to get noticed,” says Jon.

“To hear about a single or an album you relied on radio play and press advertisements. But now the internet is a fantastic opportunity to get material out there without relying on any of that.”

t www.the-chill.com

t www.popworldpromotes.com


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