The 1 September 2004 saw the Official Charts Company launch the UK’s first digital music download chart.
Given its first number one was a Westlife single, you may find it hard to see as a defining moment, but bear with me – its significance is that it marks the moment digital music went legit.
The chart is broadcast on Sunday night, on Radio One and has the BPI stamp of approval – all traditional hallmarks of the mainstream.
Counting only legal downloads, the chart also answers the myth that because consumers are used to getting digital music free, they aren’t prepared to buy it.
Legal downloads in the UK are now running at one million a month, a tenfold increase on the start of 2004.
This growth is driven by the new generation digital players, like iPods, with their capacity to hold almost every track you’ve ever owned and the consequent launch of user-friendly online stores from Apple, Napster, Tesco, MyCokeMusic and the like.
For years the music industry blamed the digital world for causing many of its woes.
At last they are embracing it, seeing it the catalyst for a change of fortunes, as it reinvigorates the pop market by revitalising music sales of all kinds.