Belfast Telegraph

Band Aid sales 'manic', says Geldof

Band Aid organiser Bob Geldof said sales had "gone manic" as the reworked version of Do They Know It's Christmas? became available for the first time.

Stars including One Direction, Coldplay's Chris Martin and singer Ellie Goulding were among the figures who gathered to record a new version of the track in response to the Ebola crisis threatening west Africa.

Geldof said that the volume of pre-orders for the track ensured it had raised in excess of £1 million within minutes of the song being premiered on TV last night.

Chancellor George Osborne has agreed to waive VAT on the single's sales, to focus proceeds on the charity effort, and iTunes said it is waiving its fees.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Geldof said: "It's gone manic. That's the digital age.

"We promoted the single on X Factor, Simon Cowell gave us five minutes of the show last night. Within four or five minutes of leaving the show we had a million quid. That's extraordinary.

"From what we're seeing now from iTunes it's gone bonkers. The pre-orders of the thing were ridiculous."

Further international versions are also to be recorded.

Geldof went on: "The Germans go into bat today, I have asked the Germans to do the German version and I have asked Carla Bruni to do it in France, to translate it into French, so they're going next."

The new recording marks the 30th anniversary of the song, which was originally put together to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia.

Detailed sales figures are not expected to be available until later in the week but the track is likely to top the charts at the weekend and it has become the bookies' favourite to clinch the Christmas number one.

Geldof has called the track "a little bit of pop history" and said it delivered a powerful message about the urgent need to fight the virus, estimated to have killed more than 5,000 people in West Africa.

He was also critical today about the response from some national governments.

"The Germans aren't doing enough, frankly. Obviously the French have sent their troops to help in Guinea and of course the British, the squaddies are down in Sierra Leone," he said.

"The Germans are the most powerful economy in Europe. They are laggards and they shouldn't be.

"It's as dangerous for them as it is for us. This thing is a flight away from us."

Strong sales unsurprisingly propelled the song to number one on the iTunes singles chart within hours of the digital release of the song.

And new figures show an average audience of 8.4 million tuned in to last night's X Factor to see the video to the track receive its premiere.

During a live TV interview with Sky News this morning, Geldof used colourful language which led to the appearance being cut short.

He also made clear that singer Adele had not directly been approached to appear on the track after a report at the weekend suggested she had snubbed the chance to take part.

"I didn't call Adele at all because I don't have her number," Geldof said. "There is no snub. I am only aware of this this morning, it's nonsense. Complete nonsense."

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