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Damon Gough's label bosses deny they are using the current UK fuel crisis to cash in...

Badly Drawn Boy‘s record label have defended claims that they are using the current fuel crisis to cash in on his victory in the MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE.

Fearing that petrol blockades may leave record stores short of copies in the post-Mercury sales rush, XL has made ‘The Hour Of Bewilderbeast’ available as a download. From Wednesday (20 September), the album will be available on [url=] for the cost of #9.99. It will be available in the Windows Media and Liquid Audio formats.

Representatives for Badly Drawn Boy said that XL were merely “covering their arses” in case supplies of hard copies cannot meet demand.

Damon Gough‘s record label XL claim they were left with no option after reports that, despite the lifting of some blockades, the situation does not look like improving in the immediate future. Earlier, John Holborrow, Director of Sales and Marketing for XL, told “We were forced to do this because the fuel situation could have brought the record distribution system to a standstill. The album is selling out. We have shifted 25,000 in the last few days. But fuel is running out and it is going to get difficult to get the album to the shops.”

Winning the Mercury Music Prize is known to significantly boost sales figures – by up to 200,000 according to some claims.

However, inside sources suggest that any problem with distribution may have as much to do with limited supply as limited fuel. The album had gone silver at the start of the week, and following the victory, major chain stores who had not previously stocked the record are making bulk orders.