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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Asda drops CD singles from stores
Rihanna
Rihanna is currently number one on download sales alone
Supermarket chain Asda is to stop selling CD singles because of dwindling sales, it has announced.

The company said customer demand had fallen because of cheaper album prices and the popularity of downloads.

"We're reluctantly saying goodbye to one of the most important products in music history," the retailer's music buyer Andy Powell said.

Singles will be phased out from this week. Asda said the space would be used to promote "breakthrough albums".

Downloads have overtaken CDs as the most popular way to buy singles - accounting for 79% of the market in 2006.

This week's number one, Umbrella by Rihanna, has made it to the top on the strength of downloads alone, two weeks before the CD even hits shops.

Chart impact

Asda's decision to exit the singles market comes two months after Tesco made the same move. But Asda's move is likely to have more impact on the top 40.

In 2005, almost one in eight CD singles were bought at Asda, according to music industry figures.

Only HMV, Virgin and Woolworths had a bigger share of the market. Tesco's share was just 3%.

"Customers want more than just a song from their favourite artists - they want the whole album at an affordable price," Mr Powell said.

Asda is one of many retailers that have used bulk buying power to drive down the price of albums.

It offers this week's number one, Linkin Park's Minute To Midnight, for 8.98.

Singles 'important'

Meanwhile, high street retailer Woolworths has denied press speculation that it is also planning to withdraw CD singles.

"They are still an important part of the music business," said the chain's music boss Jim Batchelor. "If you give people what they want, they will buy it."

"The Proclaimers sold over 200,000 copies of their single for Comic Relief and X-Factor winner Leona Lewis sold over half a million singles in 10 days."

Woolworths' 818 stores account for almost a third of all CD singles sold in the UK.


SEE ALSO
HMV drops official singles chart
09 Jan 07 |  Entertainment
Chart revamp puts downloads first
29 Dec 06 |  Entertainment
Will downloads liberate the Top 40?
28 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Downloads set for chart dominance
19 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
The online music revolution
18 May 06 |  Business
Crazy song makes musical history
02 Apr 06 |  Entertainment

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