Minute of Silence to Benefit Migrants Tops iTunes Chart in Austria

A minute of silence recorded by an Austrian visual artist in support of asylum seekers in the country has topped the Austrian iTunes downloads chart for the second day running, even though the track has not yet been released.

Schweigeminute, or Minute's Silence, by the artist, Raoul Haspel, will go on sale next Friday, yet pre-orders for the 60 seconds of recorded quiet has seen the track overtake Sugar by Robin Schulz, to sit at the top of the charts. The surge in purchases has made headlines across the country, and prompted Austrian radio stations to play some, or all of the track, according to Die Zeit newspaper.

Thirty-five-year-old Haspel told AFP that he wants to highlight "the incredible failure of the Austrian government and of European policy" in dealing with the migrant crisis.

Austria—a country of 8.5 million people—received 28,300 migrants in the first six months of this year, more than the total for the whole of 2014, according to Reuters.

According to the U.N., the "vast majority" of migrants arriving in Greece come from countries experiencing conflict or human rights violations, countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

Haspel's track can be bought on iTunes and Amazon for 0.99 or 1.29 euros respectively. Proceeds will go to the Traiskirchen refugee center south of Vienna, which has been criticized for extreme overcrowding.

"It seems like I have found the right words for this situation, which is no words at all," Haspel told AFP. "My personal short-term goal is that tonight in Traiskirchen... people don't have to sleep in wet beds without shelter with their kids having not enough food, water, warm jackets or toilet paper," he said.

"This is unworthy of our European idea and our self-understanding as human beings," he continued.

Amnesty International has described the center, which is home to 4,000 men, women and children—1,500 of whom do not have a bed—as "shameful" and "unacceptable," and the U.N. refugee agency has described conditions as "intolerable, dangerous and inhumane."

At the end of July, the Austrian government vowed to take emergency measures to relieve overcrowding at the center. The Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said that he would reduce the population at Traiskirchen as well as forcing towns to provide refugee shelters despite objections from local officials, according to the Wall Street Journal.

iTunes Austria could not tell Newsweek how many pre-orders of the track there have been in total so far, although a media representative said they would have that information next week.