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Digital download

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Digital download

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A digital download (also known as a digital single or a paid digital download) is an official legally released music single released by artists to the public. Popular legal online music store that sell digital singles and albums include Apple's iTunes and Napster. Many people are also using LimeWire to ilegally download music.

Digital downloads can usually be available as an album track and sometimes, if released as a radio single, a separate digital set will be released. The term "digital download" is a buzzword often used by record companies and the media when describing legal music-download sites.

Although digital downloads seem like a new idea, they have actually been around since around 2000. They were first compiled by Billboard in 2003, but they didn't gain mainstream acceptance until around February 2005, when digital sales for singles started to be included in the Billboard Hot 100 and other Billboard charts. In the year before, the Hot 100 chart was very similar to the Hot 100 Airplay chart, because there were only minor CD-single sales affecting the chart. The inclusion of digital singles has immensely helped many songs chart and peak higher, including Jessica Simpson's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" which became her second-highest peaking Hot 100 single thanks to digital sales. Another example is Britney Spears's "Do Somethin'" which wasn't released as a radio single, but charted in 2005 due to top-fifty (number forty-nine) digital sales. Modern pop-punk has also benefited from digital downloads, with Fall Out Boy's "Sugar We're Goin' Down" and My Chemical Romance's "Helena" peaking at numbers eight and thirty-three respectively on the Hot 100, with almost no radio airplay.

Single certifications were introduced in February 2005. Songs that sell a certain number of copies are often certified by the RIAA with the permission of the artist and the record company.

  • 100,000 copies: gold
  • 200,000 copies: platinum
  • 400,000 copies: 2x platinum
  • 600,000 copies: 3x platinum
  • 800,000 copies: 4x platinum
  • 1,000,000 copies: 5x platinum; diamond

In November 2005, the record for the bestselling digital single was held by Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl", which has sold over one million downloads, making it the first song to achieve diamond download status. The highest week sales was held by "Gold Digger" by hip-hop star Kanye West. The single beat the previous record holder, Gwen Stefani, in the week of September 8, 2005, and has sold enough copies to be certified quadruple platinum (though it hasn't been certified yet). The song also is responsible for ending Mariah Carey's fourteen week run of her come-back single, "We Belong Together". The underground dance music scene has not been left out either with the digital download network Beatport.com hitting it's one million download mark in 2005.

The digital download is quickly becoming a top medium for music, with media devices such as the iPod leading a revolution in music playback and storage potential.

The term has also been used outside the music industry, with MMORPG Star Wars: Galaxies offering expansion packs without purchasing a retail version as a 'digital download'.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.