Mercury Records — home to U2, Arcade Fire and Sir Elton John — is to cease releasing the bulk of its singles on physical formats, though the label will still make a minor contribution next month to Record Store Day
The label announced that it would no longer put out CD or vinyl singles, except for rare exceptions such as charity releases. Company bosses claim they lost money on physical releases last year, with 99 per cent of single sales now downloads.
Mercury’s move begins with immediate effect and label sources say it applies except under “exceptional circumstances,” the Press Association reports. Physical sales usually make up around one per cent of the singles chart and recently there were just 2,292 vinyl and CD purchases in the UK Top 50, making 0.16 per cent.
That Mercury should lead a move that rivals and other Universal Music Group peers may consider is ironic give that Sir Elton’s ‘Candle in the Wind ’97’ remains the UK’s biggest-selling single.
Elsewhere, the annual push to drive music fans back to record shops continues apace, with a slew of one-off releases available in independent outlets to mark Record Store Day on April 16. We already mentioned the Nirvana EP, though special pressings from Beth Ditto, Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen show major labels are keen to support the initiative — even Mercury, with a 7″ from its new rock hopes Mona.