Online album sales hit UK charts

New e-entries go straight into the Top 40

Online album sales will be included in the official UK music charts from next month in an important recognition of the impact of digital music.

From 1 October, four large music sites -- BOL, Jungle, Boxman and Audiostreet -- will submit their online CD sales figures to Chart Information Network (CIN)-- the company which compiles the official UK charts -- for auditing and inclusion in the UK album charts. According to CIN e-tailer Amazon has refused to take part in the scheme.

The companies will supply their CD album sales figures to CIN. In order to ensure only UK sales figures are included, the firms will be required to submit the postcodes of their consumers.

"The whole point of the charts is to represent the best selling records that people are buying," said Paul Clifford, chart operations manager at CIN. The decision to include online sales figures will only affect the album charts to begin with, but Clifford is hopeful that the more sensitive singles chart will be covered at the beginning of next year.

Steve Taylor, group enterprises director at Virgin Radio points out "for quite a while in the UK, album sales have far surpassed singles sales. Now that online music is becoming commonplace, these figures need to be included in the charts". In a recent survey by independent research agency Netpoll, 44 percent of Virgin radio's online audience were found to have purchased music online, with 72 percent claiming that they would consider it.

Brad Askew, film product director at e-tailer is confident that the move will bode well for the future of digital music. "It will give online companies a more respected positioning with other music companies," he says.

CIN is currently completing their final stages of testing, and is expected to make an official statement Thursday once all technical issues have been resolved.

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