Coldplay’s ‘X&Y;’ Is Hot Play on Net Stores

Times Staff Writers

Downloading has been uplifting Coldplay.

The British pop band’s new album, “X&Y;,” topped the sales charts in the U.S. with nearly 740,000 copies sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Significantly, 62,000 of those copies, or 8% of the sales, were downloaded from online music stores -- more than twice the previous record for first-week downloads.

Most of those sales were at Apple Computer Inc.’s market-dominating iTunes Music Store, which had been accepting orders for the album for a month. The pre-orders -- a first by Apple -- included two bonus tracks not on the physical CD.

Coldplay’s melodic and contemplative tunes play well among the older music fans who make up a crucial audience for online music stores. But the album’s performance reflects the steady growth of online sales in general, which Jupiter Research projects will reach almost $2 billion by 2009.


At EMI Music, Coldplay’s record company, total digital sales were more than $64 million in the fiscal year that ended March 31 -- only 2.2% of its overall revenue, but more than four times the amount sold the previous year, spokeswoman Jeanne Meyer said.

Warner Music Group racked up more digital revenue in the first three months of this year -- $35 million, or 4.6% of its total -- than it collected in all of 2004, the company reported.

Lawrence Kenswil, head of Universal Music Group’s e-commerce unit, said almost 90 songs had sold more than 100,000 copies through online stores this year.

“It’s a nice growth,” he said.

“X&Y;” had the second-largest debut week in the U.S. this year, trailing only 50 Cent’s “The Massacre,” which sold 1.1 million in its first week, according to SoundScan.