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The UK's first Official Classical Singles Chart to launch next week

24/05/2012

The Official Charts Company is launching a brand new chart to reflect a shift in the classical music sector, and consumers’ growing enthusiasm for buying classical music track-by-track.

The Official Classical Singles Chart launches Monday, reflecting the most popular individual tracks bought by classical music fans every week.  The accessibility of classical music by a single download can serve to encourage sampling of the genre to a new audience.

The past two years have seen a surge in individual track download sales – up 46% in 2011 compared to 2010 (1.22m vs 834,000). While these numbers were boosted by the success of the Military Wives’ Christmas Number 1 Wherever You Are (which was downloaded 191,000 times on its own in 2011), download sales would still have been above 1m for the year, for the first time ever.

This surge is continuing in 2012 – in the first quarter of this year, some 284,000 classical downloads were sold, a 34% increase on the 212,000 sold in Q1 2011.

To mark the growth of classical singles, the Classical BRITs has also confirmed that it will launch a Top Single Award at this September’s 2012 Royal Albert Hall show. This will be the subject of a public vote, with the shortlist based on the Official Charts Company’s poll of the biggest selling downloads of the previous 12 months.

The new Official Classical Singles Chart will be announced every Monday at www.OfficialCharts.com and will be based on sales from the UK’s leading download stores, ranging from iTunes, Amazon.com and 7Digital.com through to Tesco.com, HMV.com and Sainsbury’s.com, among others.

The first chart will be unveiled at 1pm this coming Monday 28 May 2012 at www.OfficialCharts.com.

To launch this exciting new chart we spoke to a host of classical artists about what the new chart will mean to them.  Featuring Russell Watson, Gareth Malone, Paul Mealor, Katherine Jenkins and Hayley Westenra. Watch the video here.

Quotes

Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot says:
The new Official Classical Singles Chart is designed to reflect the changing ways in which classical fans are buying their music – track by track, as well as album by album. Coming just five months after the Military Wives became the first classical choir to top the Official Singles Chart, this launch further underlines how classical music is reaching into the mainstream.”

Gareth Malone, Military Wives choirmaster and presenter of TV series The Choir said:
“The great thing about downloads is that anyone can download classical music, you don’t have to go to a specialist shop anymore, you can just get it instantly.  I think that’s opened it to a whole new generation, and I don’t think that there is the stigma it had when I was growing up that classical music was just for a few of us,  now it’s for everyone.”

Salford tenor Russell Watson says:
It’s going to be absolutely amazing for artists like myself, who unfortunately, because we don’t release many singles, we can’t compete against the likes of N-Dubz and Will.I.Am and Olly Murs, but THIS is our opportunity to show what we can do in a classical capacity.  I think it’s an absolutely amazing idea and will be an opportunity for you all to listen to what is the best in classical music in a classical singles countdown.”

Paul Mealor, composer of the Military Wives’ 2011 Christmas Number 1 single:
“I think in the past, though it’s not true now, classical albums tended to be much more expensive which meant if you were a younger person you couldn’t necessarily afford it.  But I think the Military Wives in a sense has proved that the classical single can be very important and can really open up a world to people.  The idea of a classical singles chart is absolutely fantastic!”

New Zealand’s star soprano Hayley Westenra said: “I’m really excited about the launch of the Official Classical Singles Chart.  It’s great that classical music is becoming a lot more accessible these days, I think it’s going to draw a lot more attention to classical music and the artists.  I’m all for it, maybe my next single will be up there!”

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