Band Aid 20's 'Do they know it's Christmas' quickly climbed to take the number one and two slot on Apple's iTunes Music Store yesterday.

The company is selling both the new and the original Band Aid tracks for £0.79 each, and is contributing an extra £0.70 of its own money for each sale of the brand new version of the song.

Apple wasn't going to sell the charity tracks, as Universal Music had demanded they be sold for £1.49. Apple maintains a simple price system (£0.79 per track) and refused to budge on this. However, rather than fail to support the UK's biggest charity music event, Apple elected to subsidise sales of the track instead.

Rivals resent the gesture

Other online music services have complained that Apple is effectively undermining their effort to take part in the charity fundraising. However, they were quick to condemn the company for not carrying the release at the disputed £1.49 price point.

On this, one Macworld Forum reader wrote: "Other services could easily follow suit and drop their prices to £0.79 and then offer and extra £0.70. However, doing so would cost them money."

On its decision to participate in the project, Apple yesterday said: "Apple is pleased to offer the Band Aid 20 single on the iTunes Music Store to raise funds for the plight of hunger and poverty in Africa. Since all songs on iTunes are £0.79, we've decided to sell it for £0.79 and Apple will donate an additional £0.70 for each downloaded song to the Band Aid Charitable Trust."

Fastest selling single of the year

A spokesman for the UK's Official Charts Company (which assembles the UK music sales charts) yesterday told Macworld that the single, "is the fastest-selling single released this year".

They confirmed the release is likely to show at number one in this week's physical charts, and observed that this will make 'Do they know it's Christmas' the UK's "998th number one".

Though only available through digital music services since Monday, the track stands at number eight in this week's digital download charts.