The Irish singles chart is to undergo a radical shake-up this month. For the first time, digital downloads are to be counted alongside conventional retail sales.

The Irish singles chart is to undergo a radical shake-up this month. For the first time, digital downloads are to be counted alongside conventional retail sales.

From July 1, digital sales from legitimate Web sites Apple iTunes, Eircom Music Club, Mycokemusic, Vodafone, Sony Connect, Bleep, Wippit and easyMusic will count toward chart placings.

Since its inception in 1962, the Irish Recorded Music Assn. chart has exclusively recognized only physical sales from about 400 record stores nationwide.

The new ruling comes in the wake of Gnarls Barkley's history-making hit "Crazy" (Warner Bros.), which opened at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart on April 2 purely on the basis of downloads. "Crazy," which registered 44,000 online sales in its first week in the United Kingdom, opened at the top after charts compiler the Official U.K. Charts Co softened its chart rules on download sales.

IRMA has been monitoring download track sales for the last three months. Download sales in Ireland currently account for roughly 14% of all music sales, the trade body says. Industry observers expect downloads to follow the trend in the United Kingdom, where digital formats have more than tripled in the last year and now account for more than 50% of the singles market.

The first combined IRMA chart will be published on July 7, nearly 44 years after its first appearance, when Elvis topped the poll with his 7" vinyl single "She's Not You" (RCA).

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