Universal Music has seen significant success in releasing back-catalogue and out-of-print music through digital music services, including iTunes.
The world's largest record label this morning revealed that its download-only reissues of classic tracks have raised a quarter of a million song sales.
Consumers bought music from a diverse range of performers, including rock bands such as France's Noir Desir, Germany's Accept, and the UK's Del Amitri, Cast and Eddie & the Hot Rods, as well as household names Chris De Burgh and Nana Mouskouri, and cultural icons Jacques Brel and Brigitte Bardot.
Noir Desir was the most popular act, based on the total number of tracks sold during the scheme's first seven months. The single most popular track was Gun's 1994 UK top ten hit 'Word Up' and the most popular album was Big Country's 1984 release Steeltown.
Universal Music Group launched its download-only reissue programme in February, as the first step in a multi-year drive to reinstate more than 100,000 European deleted recordings.
Initially it released over 3,000 out-of-print tracks from its UK, French and German vaults. The tracks were made available through online music services in 20 countries, mostly in Europe.
The repertoire drew largely from the past three decades, but stretched back to the '60s in some cases, including Brigitte Bardot's interpretation of the Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg hit 'Je T'Aime…Moi Non Plus'. This was one of the top five most popular tracks among the quarter-million downloads.
The company reiterated its belief that as the music available online grows in diversity, music fans will be drawn to recordings beyond current hits.
The second batch of deep catalogue reissues is due online in late November, and will include music by Maurice Chevalier, the Christians, the Frames, the Max Greger Orchestra, Mory Kante, Peter Kraus, Lulu, Baaba Maal, Robert Miles, The Orb, Henri Salvador, Savoy Brown and Charles Trenet, among many others. In addition, Decca Records will be reinstating more than 400 out-of-print classical albums.
The most popular tracks released under the scheme were:
- 1/ Gun, 'Word Up'
- 2/ Eddie & the Hot Rods, 'Do Anything You Wanna Do'
- 3/ Brigitte Bardot, 'Je T'Aime…Moi Non Plus'
- 4/ Freak Power, 'Turn On Tune In Cop Out'
- 5/ Cast, 'Guiding Star'