I’m sure there’ll be a lot about Woolies on various blogs today: time here simply to note its role in the early 00s pop boom. For some value of “boom”: the singles market in the time just before downloads was a) tiny and b) dominated by Woolworths as the emerging supermarket chains mostly stuck to albums. I remember reading somewhere that 40% of all singles were sold through Woolworths in the early part of the decade, which would have made their central buyers the most important men in pop (defining pop, which nobody really did by then, as ‘what gets into the charts’). Since Woolworths worked to their OWN singles chart – determined on the Monday of release via pre-orders, market expertise, the operation of a ouija board, etc. – rather than the official one, this had a significant impact.

Woolworths downsized its singles displays a few years ago, though I think they still stocked physical singles: their closure is surely the real actual last nail in the coffin of the physical single as anything other than a specialist format (indie 7″s, dance 12″s, etc.).