UK music outfit Recordstore.co.uk – which builds Web shops for a variety of artists including The Darkness and Robbie Williams – will be offering chart-eligible music downloads through artist Web sites form the end of the month, the company revealed last night.
Fans of artists can visit their dedicated Web shops to acquire a choice of merchandise, in addition to music. Tracks will be available in Microsoft's audio format, or in non-DRM protected MP3s, according to the artist/label choice.
Information about the digital sales will be fed to the Official Charts Company for inclusion in the downloads chart, which will be merged into the Official UK Singles Chart later in the year.
UK downloads exceeded sales of physical singles in all format bar CDs in January 2004.
The service is being launched in conjunction with another digital distributor, DX3, but will "integrate with other digital distribution companies later this year," the company said.
Former Boomtown Rat Sir Bob Geldof joined the company's board in May 2002 as a non-executive director.