THE FUTURE IS HERE: You may or may not be old enough to remember where you were when the first 45 rpm single charted in Billboard, but write down today’s date, because you were there when another life-changing event took place. This week, the first song only available as a download and not available as a commercial single or even a promotional single has charted in Billboard.
“America the Beautiful” debuts at No. 58 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. Where the label credit would normally be listed, the legend reads, “No Label Download Track.” The multi-artist recording was produced by James Stroud and Tony Brown, the Nashville-based presidents of DreamWorks and MCA, respectively, for a July 4th TV special produced by Norman Lear. The song was available for download via Digital Generation Systems, a service that is often used by record labels to transmit lead singles by major artists to radio stations.
‘BROTHER’S” GONNA WORK IT OUT: The soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (Mercury) is proving to be very durable. The album returns to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, knocking Lonestar’s “I’m Already There” (BNA) down to No. 2 after just one week on top. That extends “Brother’s” reign to 12 weeks, three weeks longer than “Hope Floats,” which held the record for the longest-running No. 1 soundtrack on the country chart until “Brother” came along.
On The Billboard 200, “Brother” rebounds 18-14, just one rung shy of its peak position to date.