Marketing scores the biggest hits in Top Ten

THROW-AWAY records are dominating today's Top 40 singles chart, it was claimed yesterday, as the 31st single to reach the Number One spot this year set an all-time record.

As the boy band Five topped the chart, with "Keep On Movin'," the record of 30 number ones in 12 months was beaten. And with eight more charts to come this year the record is likely to be smashed.

Music industry experts said a fickle chart created by clubland culture and slick marketing had prompted this faster turnover. This year not one single has remained in the Number One slot for longer than three weeks, in comparison with the days when artists could spend months there.

The Radio 1 DJ Emma B said: "We now have far more throw-away singles from bands you have never heard of and never will again. There is very little follow-up interest. It is an incredible phenomenon."

With a group requiring fewer than 40,000 sales to reach the Top Ten, many plummet out of the charts within a short while, never to be heard of again. These days an artist can reach the top spot with fewer than 100,000 sales on certain weeks.

Much of the marketing is focused on getting fans to buy a record within days of release as sales tend to drop after the first few days. Acts rarely go to Number One if they have not done so within a week.

Gennaro Castaldo, a chart expert at HMV, said: "Marketing is getting slicker and everyone is trying desperately to use sales in the first week to catapult singles to Number One."