Thursday, 27 May 2010

No Eurovision in the UK charts?

One measure of the success of Eurovision entries, and the contest as a whole, is how many entries end up in countries’ own official charts, tracking how many people actually bought the entries after the contest. Yesterday it was mentioned that several entries had already gone on to the iTunes charts of some countries, like Sweden and Ireland. I decided to have a look and see if any of Tuesday’s competitors had hit the UK iTunes chart.

The answer was, effectively, no. The only one that did was Iceland, right near the bottom. Wondering why, I went to the album page, and got my answer. About ten of the songs are listed as ‘album only’. This means that you cannot purchase them separately, you only get them when buying the whole album. The same is true on Amazon.

Unfortunately (though presumably by design), this affects several of the favourites, and some of those more likely to chart in the UK – Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Azerbaijan, even the UK. Some of these may well be available elsewhere on download sites, but some aren’t, and even if they are, people are unlikely to go delving further. This happened last year too, but with fewer of the favourites involved.

The entire point of digital music purchasing is that it allows consumers to cherry pick what they want to buy, and with ease. If it’s complicated, they just won’t bother. And people are unlikely to want to buy the whole album too. It’s really frustrating to see how Eurovision is, yet again, falling behind the trends of the modern world, and showing itself as a dinosaur, out of touch with modern music, in more ways than one.

I’m not holding my breath at all of there being several hits in the UK charts from this year’s contest. And that’s a shame, because it can happen, as seen by Rybak and Yohanna making it last year, and because entries charting can add a bit of credibility to a contest sometimes sorely lacking it. But if the organisers and the distributors cannot get simple things like this right, it’s not surprising.

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