Pink Floyd fans who may have thought that they had bought their last copy of The Dark Side of the Moon are helping to make the landmark album a best seller again--this time at Apple's iTunes.
The reason appears to be its availability in a new audio format--yes, again.
Thanks to generations of music fans wearing out copies of the album on LPs, 8-track tapes and cassette tapes, Dark Side has sold more 35 million copies worldwide since it was released in 1973 and has spent more than 1,550 weeks as one of Billboard's Top 200 best-selling albums--that's about 30 years.
When CDs were the hot new thing 20-something years ago, Dark Side returned to top of the charts when we all ran out and replaced the album yet again, confident that we would never again have to buy another copy (except, of course, after "lending" it to a friend). Then, in 2003, the band's label released the album in the Hybrid SACD (Sony's Super Audio CD) format, promising a "mind-blowing" 5.1 surround sound mix. Despite the format's lack of success, the band's SACD album sold more than 800,000 copies.
Now the album is climbing the charts again, thanks to the unprotected 256kbps AAC version available through Apple's iTunes Plus. Since Apple's DRM-free music experiment with EMI was launched in May, sales of Dark Side have gone up more than 270 percent.
Of course, since those numbers were released, the album has slipped a bit on the iTunes Plus charts, but it has also been joined by the band's Wish You Were Here and The Wall, which have both spent time in the top 20.
It's too early to declare the experiment a success, but all this may lead one to wonder when The Beatles will finally come together with Apple and let their music be sold through iTunes. Perhaps one day soon, the band will start singing a different tune (apologies to Roger Waters).