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Last Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Ash to abandon albums for singles
Ash perform at the Isle of Wight Festival
The band have had 17 UK top 40 hits, including Angel Interceptor
Irish rock group Ash have said they will stop making albums and concentrate on releasing singles on the internet.

"With the advent of the download, the emphasis has reverted to single tracks," said frontman Tim Wheeler.

"It hasn't helped that most people have forgotten how to make a decent album," he added.

Rumours that the band were due to split started at the Isle of Wight Festival when Wheeler told the crowd he was playing songs from their "last album".

But in a statement on their website the group moved to end speculation, saying it was "time to make a stand".

Downloads now account for about 80% of singles sales in the UK.

We're the first band to do this, but I very much doubt we'll be the last
Tim Wheeler
"When you're tied to the album format, you find yourself waiting six months between finishing a record and releasing it," said Wheeler.

"By leaving this behind, we can record a track and release it the next day if we feel like it.

"We're the first band to do this, but I very much doubt we'll be the last."

Ash release their new album, Twilight of the Innocents, on 2 July. The band say they will still release compilations of their singles in the future.

Singles success

Hailing from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, Ash formed as a three piece in 1992.

They have had 17 top 40 hits in the UK, including Angel Interceptor, Girl From Mars and Burn Baby Burn.

Fourth member Charlotte Hatherley joined in 1997, but left last year to pursue a solo career.

The Entertainment Retailers' Association (Era), which represents UK record shops, said demand for CDs remained "robust" despite the growing popularity of downloads.

"Digital still accounts for less than one-twelfth of the UK music market," Era director general Kim Bayley said.

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