The UK singles chart will feature internet downloads for the first time ever this weekend (17APR05).

The breakthrough is expected to send the profile of rock music soaring, with pop going into decline - and it's all to do with the spending habits of men compared to women.

Men are responsible for buying 96 per cent of downloads, most of which fall into the rock category, while women generally plump for pop, but tend to purchase their singles in the shops.

However, it appears to be only a matter of time before all singles are purchased online, as legally downloading music is easier than ever, and experts predict it may be a matter of weeks until downloads make up a majority of the British charts.

Sales of UK single downloads have shot up from 216,000 to 4.5 million in just one year, whereas shop sales have plummeted 6,704,801 to 5,764,285.

So far, Stereophonics' hit DAKOTA is the best-selling download, but it is only seventh in the regular singles figures for 2005.

BRITISH PHONOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY boss PETER JAMIESON says, "It could lead to a new golden age for the single."

The brand new chart is revealed on Sunday (17APR05) on BBC Radio One.

13/04/2005 09:29