Letter: Fixing the charts

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Sir: I was interested to read your report about titled assertions of chart fixing by Lord Lloyd-Webber and Sir Tim Rice (10 December). Their statement that "for nearly half a century the British pop music charts have provided an accurate, informative and enjoyable guide to the most popular recordings of the day" is spot on, but alas only in the "talking complete bollocks" department.

There never were halcyon days of honest charts, however much those who used to enjoy chart success might wish to assert it was so. The principal difference now is that chart fixing is a more expensive undertaking than it used to be. Only artists with high profiles and lots of marketing slush- money being spent on them are likely to be beneficiaries of this abysmal practice. Expect therefore to see assertions like mine being supported only by those, like me, who enjoyed success in the days when the record labels only had to give away goods in a few hundred stores to bend the charts to their marketing desires.

Of course if you want to bypass the charts and the stores completely, then buy your records on the Internet. Any suggestion however that I am merely passing on my views in order to plug my excellent, secure, online service that sells very reasonably priced quality David Knopfler CDs would of course be a terrible slur.


Petersfield, Hampshire

The writer was a Founding member of Dire Straits and is the author of "The Bluffer's guide to Rock"