U2 and Arcade Fire's label ends CD and vinyl singles

  • 25 March 2011
  • From the section Music
Arcade Fire at Reading
Arcade Fire are among the bands on Mercury's books

Mercury, the label which is the UK home of U2, Chase & Status, The Killers and Arcade Fire, has stopped releasing singles on CD and vinyl.

The label made a loss on singles in 2010 and said it would now only release them physically as "rare exceptions".

Physical singles now make up less than one per cent of weekly sales, with digital downloads catching on hugely.

Meanwhile, overall sales of individual tracks have risen from 66.9 million in 2006 to 161.8 million in 2010.

But the option to buy any song from an album on its own as a download means it's not just officially released singles that account for that rise.

'Not disappearing'

Despite the falling sales, certain releases, such as The X Factor Christmas single still sell large numbers of physical copies.

And Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, Candle In The Wind 97, is still the UK's biggest ever selling single.

Matt Cardle
X Factor Christmas singles buck the trend by selling lots of physical copies

Overall though, vinyl sales have nosedived.

The number of seven-inch records was down from more than a million in 2006, to 152,000 in 2010, an 82% drop.

Mercury is also home to Maverick Sabre and Pixie Lott.

A spokeswoman for the label said: "For the past couple of years we have released physical singles only when there is demand.

"With physical formats now accounting for just over one per cent of the overall singles market we are being more cautious.

"That said, physical singles are not disappearing and we will still release them when there is a demand."

She added that The Wanted's Comic Relief single and a forthcoming seven-inch from UK rockers White Lies were exceptions to the plan.