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Hallelujah! Cohen shows power of downloads

CD single - losing ground
CD single - losing ground

Downloads have become an increasingly powerful force in music, but the pre-Christmas weekend confirmed just how dominant digital music has become – with no less than three version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah in the top 40 singles chart.

A change to the rules meant that digital downloads count towards sales, allowing some slightly strange entries to creep into the charts.

When Alexandra Burke won X-Factor, her first single – a cover of Hallelujah – was always odds on favourite to take the number one slot.

More than 50 years ago...

But an internet campaign backed by the media has seen the Jeff Buckley version move into number 2 – the first time in 50 years that the same song has been at number one and two in the charts.

And, just in case good ol' Leonard wasn't already delightedly counting his royalties, his own version got an entry at number 36.

The last time the same song was at the top and second in the charts was 1957, when Tommy Steele and Guy Mitchell managed the feat with Singin' the Blues.

To put the numbers in context Burke's single sold 576,000 with second place a fairly distant 81,000.