Roll Over Bono


The fastest-selling online song ever is the Live8 version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" that Paul McCartney sang with U2, the Guardian reports.

But that doesn't hold a candle to the boy from Bonn.

The BBC gave away digital versions of Ludwig van Beethoven's works in June, and the complete nine symphonies alone were downloaded 1.4 million times, the Beeb reported.

The Beatle-Bono sung version of Sgt. Pepper's started off strong, but has sold just 20,000 times online in the two weeks that it's been available.

The classical music industry is trying to figure out why listeners went loony over Ludwig.

To put another perspective on the success of the Beethoven downloads, according to Matthew Cosgrove, director of Warner Classics, it would take a commercial CD recording of the complete Beethoven symphonies "upwards of five years" to sell as many downloads as were shifted from the BBC website in two weeks. The BBC has been stunned by the response - so much so that its director general, Mark Thompson, opened his annual report with Beethoven's inscription on the score of the Missa Solemnis: "From the heart ... May it go again to the heart!" ...

Roger Wright, the controller of Radio 3, said it was "clear that people had been coming to Beethoven for the first time" through the Beethoven downloads. This was clear, he said, since more people downloaded Symphonies No. 1 and 2 then No. 3, the Eroica, which even Blinq can hum.

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