Article by Minnie Headon & SS Wilder

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Lab-tested pop
If half-a-human plus half-an-ATM equals a shopper, who are the downloaders?

EMI goes to Las Vegas

Music giant EMI is set to sign a deal with Procter & Gamble that will allow it to test artists' new music with hundreds of thousands of American teenagers before it chooses singles to promote to radio shows and music channels.

The tie-up with the world's largest household goods firm is expected to be announced at the same time that the British music company unveils its first-half results this week. It will see EMI, home to artists including The Beatles, Coldplay, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue, gaining access to P&G specialist market testing division, Tremor, which inlcudes more than 200,000 teenagers and young adults.

EMI will send early copies of CDs as well as promotional material to the network's members, who will help it select music to promote. The national network will also provide word-of-mouth publicity for the music firm, which has about a ten per cent share of the American market. EMI is understood to be hoping that the tie-up will lead to further alliances with P&G.

When EMI chairman, Eric Nicoli, unveils results on Friday for the six months to September, sales from recorded music are expected to be £870 million, down about ten per cent on the same period last year.

However, groups profits are likely to be down only slightly from £79.7 million to £75 million because of more progress with cost-cutting. A number of factors ave affected first-half performance, including a weaker schedule of music releases compared with last year, which included Norah Jones's hit first album.

Meanwhile, adverse foreign exchange movement are also understood to have affected sales, knocking more than six per cent off revenues. The global music market also fell in the first half, by just over one per cent. Earnings per share are likely to be down from 3.6p to about 2.4p, but Nicoli is expected to say that EMI's full-year's prospects are good because of a strong release schedule in the second half, including 'Best Of' albums from Robbie Williams, Tina Turner and Kylie, which are already performing well.

EMI has also just signed a deal to become the official music partner of Las Vegas at its centennial anniversary next year. It will create a new record label, Las Vegas Centennial Records, to release CDs of classic concerts in the city from 'Rat pack' stalwarts Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

Number One's smallest weekly sale ever!

[Seen it coming?]

The single that went to the top of the charts on Sunday did so with the lowest-ever weekly sale. ‘Call On Me’ by Eric Prydz sold just 23,519 copies.

That's the smallest sale to get to No. 1 since chart statistics began in 1969. The slump, which saw Duncan from Blue managing just 22,462 sales with his single to get to No. 2, is another blow to the ailing Top 40 singles chart.

Prydz had spent three weeks in the top spot before Robbie Williams went to No. 1 last week and slipped to p. 3 this week.

By returning to the top, the Swedish DJ has beaten Daniel Bedingfield's unwanted record.

Bedingfield's ‘Gotta Get Through This’ sold just 25,354 when it got back to No. 1 in the week after Christmas in 2001.

In contrast, Elton John's ‘Candle In The Wind’ sold 3.4 million in a week in 1997. [25 October 2004]

Musical downslide

Music sales worldwide have fallen 22 per cent since 1999.

An estimated 16 billion songs and up to 1 million movies are downloaded illegally every day.

It is calculated that illegal downloading costs the industry in Britain - £274 million per annum.

British single sales fell by 43.7 million between 1999 and 2003, a 54.6 per cent drop.

Some 36 per cent of illegal downloaders questioned by European researchers this summer said they now bought fewer CDs, with only ten per cent buying more.

British down loaders typically spend 32 per cent less on albums each year and 59% less on singles, according to a survey.

Ten per cent are aged between 12 and 14, and 19% between 15 and 19.

More than 2.25 million singles have now been downloaded legally in Britain.

An average of 40,000 different songs are downladed legally each week in the UK, up from 7,000 at the beginning of 2004.

Some 7.4 million Britons have illegally downloaded from the Web, British Phonographic Industry claims.

BPI believes that 15 per cent of downloaders are responsible for 75 per cent of illegal file-swapping.

Minnie Headon & SS Wilder