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Did downloads curb 'Idol' single sales?

Lower-than-expected sales for single may be due to fans preferring to download the track.

Lower-than-expected sales for the single from Casey Donovan, this year's Australian "Idol" TV show winner, may be due to fans preferring to pay for downloads of the track. While Donovan's single "Listen To Your Heart" debuted at No. 1 on this week's ARIA chart, it sold far fewer copies than last year's winner, Guy Sebastian. According to music news site Undercover, Donovan's single sold 35,817 copies in its first week, while Sebastian's tune sold 128,679--more than three times as many.

Anticipating larger sales, Donovan's label Sony BMG reportedly had shipped more than 210,000 copies of the single to retailers. However, the single hit the shelves more than a week after Telstra's BigPond Music site began offering legal downloads of the track. A Telstra representative declined to cite download numbers for the track, citing commercial confidentiality, but said it was "far and away the biggest ever legal song download in Australia."

Angus Kidman of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.