David Bowie took everyone by surprise on Tuesday by releasing his first new material for a decade, the single ‘Where Are We Now?’. But the track doesn’t feature in yesterday’s midweek singles chart, as published by the Official Charts Company. It turns out that this is because, even at 66 years old, Bowie still refuses to play by the rules.
In a statement, the OCC said: “Owing to chart rules which are agreed in partnership with UK record companies and retailers, data relating to the David Bowie single ‘Where Are We Now?’ cannot currently be counted towards the official singles charts, as the release is linked to an album pre-order promotion and it is not possible to distinguish album sales from track sales from the retail data received”.
With Bowie currently riding atop the iTunes singles chart, many accused the Official Charts Company of disqualifying him from taking his rightful place above Will.i.am and Britney Spears, who are number one in the midweeks with their track, ‘Scream & Shout’.
But it’s alright, you can all calm down, Bowie’s still in with a chance, should the retailers’ be able to work out which sales were single track downloads and which were part of the pre-order bundle. Something, amazingly, they’ve apparently never thought to do before.
The Official Charts Company confirmed to CMU yesterday: “Straight purchases of ‘Where Are We Now?’ (as opposed to free downloads tied to an album pre-order) are, in theory, perfectly eligible to chart based on chart rules. However, the volume of these types of straight purchases need to be separated out from the free downloads and reported to us from retailers. The necessary information for this Bowie release is simply unavailable to us, so cannot be counted until the data is made available”.
Speaking of the new album, ‘The Next Day’, longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti has been talking about it, telling BBC News: “We never spent more than two to three weeks at a time recording. Usually we’d work on one or two songs in an afternoon, and whip them into shape so they’d sound like great rock tracks. That’s the way I’ve been working with him since ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ [and] he hasn’t really changed in his approach”.
He added: “['Where Are We Now?' is] maybe the only track on the album that goes this much inward for him. I thought to myself: ‘Why is David coming out with this very slow, albeit beautiful, ballad? … He should come out with a bang’. But he is a master of his own life. I think this was a very smart move, linking the past with the future, and I think the next thing you hear from him is going to be quite different”.
The album is due for release on 12 Mar.
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