Spanish labels' body Promusicae today launched the country's first official digital sales charts, with hopes high that the new listings will serve to boost the country's flagging digital music sales.

From today, two charts are to be published each Wednesday on Promusicae's Web site: the "Songs Download Chart" and "Original Tones Chart." The digital charts will be compiled by Nielsen SoundScan, and complement the physical sales charts compiled by Media Control.

The first official digital No. 1 in the sales chart is Spanish duo Andy & Lucas with "Quiéreme" (Sony BMG), and the first original tone No. 1 is Mexico-based Spanish band La Quinta Estación with "Me Muero" (Sony BMG). Both have won gold "discs," for sales in excess of 10,000 units. Colombian singer Shakira is No. 2 in both charts with "Pure Intuition" (Sony BMG). Andy & Lucas is also No. 1 in the Media Control albums chart with "Ganas De Vivir" (Sony BMG), also published today.

During a presentation to mark the occasion, Promusicae president Antonio Guisasola today said the chart launch followed six months of test charts organized by Nielsen SoundScan, mobile phone operators and online music merchants. "In recent weeks singles sales have topped 100,000 a week and original tones sales 150,000," he said, adding that Promusicae will issue "certificates of quality" to original tones, the only type that can appear in the chart.

Spain has a significant problem with "tone covers." Warner Music Spain president Mariano Pérez explained that some of the most popular TV shows use sound-alike tones. And some TV adverts offer cover ringtones to buy, where the artist's name is not mentioned or printed but the sound is similar to the original. "This is a fraud, but is common practice in Spain, and we want to put an end to it," Pérez adds. Guisasola adds, "The tone covers are sold very cheaply because the artists are not paid."

Guisasola, flanked by several label presidents including all four majors, as well as leading Spanish artists plus top Mexican singer Julieta Venegas, noted that 2006 legal digital sales represented just 6% of total music sales with a retail value of €22 million (28.8 million). Although Spain is ranked No. 9 among the biggest digital sales markets, he says the country's digital business still lags behind the European average of 10% of total sales and "far behind countries such as the U.S. or Japan".

He adds that Promusicae estimates that some 800 million songs were illegally downloaded in Spain last year. "But this presentation is the coming-out ceremony of the Spanish music industry's legal digital market," he said. Universal Music Spain president Fabrice Benoit added, "This is an important advance for the industry here, and we are very focussed on making it work."

Operators and online stores that contribute to the charts include Orange, Movistar, Vodafone, MTV, Telefonica's Pixbox, iTunes, Microsoft and Jet Multimedia. MSN Music Club director of Microsoft Spain's online services, Eduardo Sagues commented, "With this legal digital sales chart we want to change the perception that internet is the black hole of illegal music sales".

Orange music content director Arancha Pérez Navarro explained, "We are the new entrants in this segment of music and we are supported by the technology manufacturers. This year will be crucial for digital devices, and we must be able to take them to the public." Vodafone online director Pilar Serrano added, "We have been cooperating with Promusicae since the first day in September, and we hope this day marks the real lift-off of Spain's digital music sales market."

Promusicae also presented to artists its first gold (10,000) and platinum (20,000) digital discs, based on confirmed digital sales since tests began last September.

Electronic-rock group Dover was one of four artists to receive a triple platinum disc, for its song "Let Me Out" (EMI). The other triple platinum artists -- David Bisbal, on tour in Latin America; Mexico's Paulina Rubio; and Puerto Rican Ricky Martin -- were absent. Martin's certificate was accepted by Spanish singer La Mari, who sings on the awarded single "Te Recuerdo."

Dover singer Amparo Llanos says, "This is a fabulous way to make a comeback with our new tour that starts next month." Dover has six nods at the March 29 Premios de la Música award gala in Spain.