July 4, 2005

Acts see album sales soar after Live 8 gigs

LONDON (Reuters) - They came out of charity. They left withbooming record sales.

The galaxy of rock stars who took part in Live 8 concertson Saturday to help beat the curse of poverty have seen theirrecords fly off the shelves in British music stores, provingthat cash balances as well as consciences were the winner.

According to HMV, one of Britain's main record retailerswith 200 stores nationwide, Pink Floyd's "Echoes" album posteda staggering 1,343 percent increase in sales on Sunday comparedwith the same day a week ago.

The band re-formed for the Live 8 concert in London's HydePark, where they joined pop legends Paul McCartney, Madonna, U2and Elton John among others in front of 200,000 people.

"Even allowing for the relative nature of this exercise ...this snapshot still shows that the Live 8 concert is having amarked effect on sales of featured artist recordings," saidGennaro Castaldo spokesman for the HMV chain.

He stressed that the increase for Pink Floyd and other actsappearing in Hyde Park was partly due to the small number ofrecords sold on Sunday, June 26. Total sales of the album onSunday, July 3, the day after Live 8, were approaching 1,000.

Next came The Who's "Then & Now," with an increase of 863percent, Annie Lennox's "Eurythmics Greatest Hits" (500percent) and Dido's "Life For Rent" (412 percent).

Ironically, Coldplay's "X&Y," which has stormed the chartsin Britain and the United States, registered one of thesmallest increases out of the London Live 8 acts at just threepercent.

But according to HMV, the band still sold the highestnumber of copies at more than 2,800.

The only Live 8 performer to have clocked a drop in saleswas Pete Doherty. His former group the Libertines saw sales oftheir "Up the Bracket" album drop by 35 percent.

Doherty's performance was singled out by the British mediaas one of the worst of the nine-hour Hyde Park music marathon.

The Mirror tabloid called his duet with Elton John"shambolic."

Reporters at the gig said he struggled with the words ofthe classic song "Children of the Revolution" and lookedunsteady on his feet.

Virgin Megastores, another major British music outline,could not immediately be reached for comment on post-Live 8sales.