Page last updated at 13:04 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 14:04 UK

No iTunes, no US hits for Estelle

Estelle at V Festival
Estelle is currently on a major North American tour

British R&B star Estelle has seen her single American Boy plummet down the US chart after her latest album, Shine, was taken off iTunes in the States.

Record label Warner made the move to force fans to buy the whole album, not just individual songs, reports said.

American Boy, featuring Kanye West, was UK number one for a month in March.

It was in the iTunes top 10 in the US before its removal. It was also at 11 on the official Billboard singles chart - but has now dropped to number 37.

The song has also fallen from number six to 59 on the Billboard download chart.

A cover version, by a group called Studio All-Stars, has taken advantage of the situation, appearing at number 43 on the download chart.

A clip from American Boy by Estelle

Meanwhile, Shine, which is nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in the UK, has dropped to number 159 on the Billboard album rundown.

The album has spent 17 weeks on the chart, peaking at number 38.

Estelle is currently on a major North American tour, where she is playing up her collaborations with US hip-hop and R&B stars such as Kanye West, John Legend, Will.i.am and Cee-Lo Green.

She is signed to the same label as Kid Rock, who insisted that his hit single All Summer Long and album Rock 'n' Roll Jesus were kept off iTunes in the US.

But the album still reached number one, selling 1.7 million copies.

That has led Warner to explore whether fans of other artists could be persuaded to buy the whole album, according to the the Wall Street Journal.

That is more lucrative to labels and artists than if just a few songs were picked to download from iTunes, which does not allow albums to be sold only in whole.

A Warner spokesman told the paper the removal of Shine from iTunes was part of a broad range of strategies "uniquely tailored to each artist and their fanbase in an effort to optimise revenues and promote long-term artist development".

The album is still available on iTunes in the UK, and on other download services in the US, including Amazon, Napster and Rhapsody.


SEE ALSO
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