Harry Styles’ record company accused of using ‘dirty tricks’ to ensure album success

Harry Styles’ record company has been accused of using “dirty tricks” to ensure his single won the charts battle with Eurovision hero Sam Ryder.

Industry sources say Sony was determined to have the former One Direction star’s track, As It Was, in top spot as his new album Harry’s House was released this weekend.

To help drive sales, the company released limited-edition hand-numbered CDs on May 13, the first day of the chart week which runs from Friday to Friday.

Just as Styles’ website began distributing the limited records for $4.40 — slightly more than a standard CD — excitement about Ryder’s track Spaceman and its prospects of winning Eurovision the following day was growing.

Critics suggest that Sony calculated that because physical CD sales register more points towards achieving the No 1 spot than the purchase of a stream, they could secure victory by promoting the hand-numbered CDs.

Whatever the strategy, Sony achieved success on Friday as Styles, 28, notched up his seventh week at No 1 — with Ryder at No 2.

Sources close to Sony last night pointed out that the hand-numbered CDs were available to pre-order before May 13 and insisted it was always part of Styles’ carefully managed campaign.

No rules were broken and the insider scoffed at suggestions that it was a deliberate strategy to scupper Ryder’s No 1 hopes.

But another industry source said: “Sam was doing so well and actually overtook Harry in the midweeks, but the chatter is that Sony decided to make sure that Harry was home and dry by releasing the hand-numbered CDs”.

Harry Styles’ record company accused of using ‘dirty tricks’ to ensure album success

Camera IconHarry Styles performs at Coachella 2022. Credit: Twitter/ Twitter

CDs count more than streams so having numbered ones made it all much more appealing for his fans.

“Sam was at a disadvantage because people didn’t really start looking for him properly until Saturday, a day after the chart week began.”

Styles’ continued stay at No 1 in the singles chart came as his first album in five years was released amid fanfare in New York, and The Sunday Times Rich List revealed he is the wealthiest UK musician under the age of 30, with a fortune of $177 million – up $44m in the past year.

Ryder, 32, who was hailed for coming second in the Eurovision song contest final — the UK’s highest finish since 1997 — played down his rivalry with Styles.

He said: “I feel like what Harry stands for, as a fan of his and listening to his music. He stands for the same things that Eurovision celebrates — a freedom of expression, of inclusivity.”

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