The history of the Official Charts: the Noughties

Downloads transform music, the UK welcomes Pop Idol and X-Factor - and the public learns to protest through the Official Singles Chart.

2000 – a new Millennium is heralded with Westlife’s I Have A Dream / Seasons In The Sun at Number 1 in the Official Singles Chart, and Come On over by Shania Twain at the top of the Official Albums Chart. The first new chart toppers of the Millennium are Manic Street Preachers' single The Masses Against The Classes and Gabrielle's Rise album (halfway through February). 

2002 - the beginning of a new pop era.. With the launch pad of ITV’s Saturday night talent show Pop Idol behind them, Will Young and Gareth Gates both arrive on the scene. Winner Will Young’s Anything Is Possible/Evergreen scores the biggest first day (403,000 copies) and first week (1.1m copies) sales for a non-charity record, closely followed by Gareth Gates (the initial Pop Idol favourite but ultimate runner-up), whose Unchained Melody sells 850,000 in its first week and holds on for four weeks at Number 1.

The 50th anniversary of the UK’s Official Singles Chart is marked through various TV and radio broadcasts, as well as an exhibition of sleeve artwork at the British Library in London. An anniversary poll of Radio 2 listeners sees Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody voted the nations favourite song in the history of the Singles Chart.

2004 – the year that legitimate downloads reach the UK for the first time, June sees the launch of iTunes in the UK and September sees the launch of the UK’s Official Download Chart – a live version of Westlife’s Flying Without Wings is the first Number 1. With the profile of the Official Singles Chart raised via the growth of downloading, Coca Cola becomes its second sponsor, as they launch their own download store mycokemusic.com.

In June, Eamon’s F**k It (I Don’t Want You Back) makes history as the first Number 1 in the Official Ringtones Chart, which is supported by the Mobile Entertainment Forum.

2005 – the year starts with singles downloads outstripping CD singles for the first time in the opening week (312,000 vs 282,000) as the market shifts from physical to digital.

In July, downloads start counting toward the Official Singles Chart for the first time - initially only the week before the physical release is available.

2006 - signalling the changing nature of the market, Pump It by the Black Eyed Peas becomes the first Top 40 hit on downloads alone in March – before Gnarls Barkley's debut single Crazy enters the chart at 1 the next month to become the first Official Number 1 on downloads alone. Crazy goes on to spend nine weeks at the top, selling 820,000 copies in just two months.

With digital tracks now accounting for 78% of all singles sales, digital album sales become eligible for the Official Albums Chart in April.

The Official Albums Chart celebrates its 50thanniversary and, nearly 40 years after its release, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is reconfirmed as the best-selling studio album of all time and voted the nation’s favourite album of the half century in a poll organised by Official Charts with cable channel  VH1.

2007 – in January, the chart rules are changed to fully embrace downloads, which can chart for the first time without requiring a physical release. As a result, a number of singles return to the chart on downloads alone over the coming weeks, including Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy and Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars, which re-enters at Number 9, just below the peak it achieved the previous September. The re-emergence of classic hits is to become a familiar feature of the digital era charts.

Rihanna claims her first ever Number 1 single with Umbrella, which holds on for 10 weeks at Number 1. To date, she has scored three million sellers (Only Girl (In The World), Diamonds and We Found Love), eight UK chart-toppers and is the only female artist to have featured on Official Number 1 singles in seven consecutive years (2007's Umbrella, 2008's Take A Bow, 2009's Run This Town, 2010's Only Girl In The World, 2011's We Found Love, 2012’s Diamonds and 2013’sThe Monster).

2008 – MTV begins broadcasting the Official Singles Chart every week for the first time, as part of a new partnership which makes it the TV home of the Official Charts. The Official UK Top 40 is broadcast several times a week, following a first broadcast on Monday afternoon.

In recognition of the changing ways music fans were getting their music, the Official Subscription Plays Chart is launched in September, reflecting listening via subscription services such as Napster, HMV, Music Station and the Nokia Music Store. Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl is the first Number 1. Although it is yet to make much of a splash, Spotify also launches in beta in October.

2009 – in protest against X Factor, Essex-based husband and wife team Jon and Tracy Morter launch a Facebook campaign in December pitching Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name against The XFactor winner Joe McElderry’s The Climb for the Official Christmas Number 1 – Rage Against The Machine eventually win, selling 502,000 copies versus McElderry’s 450,000.

Killing In The Name is the final Official Number 1 Single of the Noughties, while Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed A Dream is the last chart-topping album.