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Modest numbers on Billboard digital download chart

Slate’s Rob Walker reports on the new digital download chart in Billboard, which made its official debut this month in the trade journal. Walker is surprised by how small the numbers are — the No. 1 track, “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé, reached its spot on the strength of about 1,500 paid downloads, while the No. 10 song only received about 500. “Billboard says that Apple, the most aggressive player in this market so far, is selling an average of 500,000 tracks a week. If that’s true, and it takes just 1,500 sales to be No. 1, then the variety of tracks that people are downloading must be extremely broad.” Walker notes that “a well-coordinated effort by a band with a devoted fan base and at least one song… could theoretically push that song to No. 1.”

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