Retailer accounts for 28%-32% of market.

Sales data from Sanity Music Entertainment, HMV Australia and Virgin Music will no longer be included in Australia's official charts.

Retail conglomerate Brazin, which operates the three music retail chains, informed the Australian Recording Industry Assn. last week that it would cease contributing sales data from last Friday (May 19).

The current Motorola ARIA charts, which were published yesterday (May 21), will be the last to include Brazin's data, whose 392 stores account for 28% to 32% of the local music retail market, according to wholesalers.

According to Brazin CEO Greg Milne, his company advised ARIA it had to get its data from Sydney-based data analysts GfK. According to a record label executive, who asked for anonymity, "This would mean that ARIA would now have to pay for that data." Until now, Brazin has not been paid for its sales information.

GfK already collates ARIA's weekly DVD charts. Brazin recently expanded its deal with GfK to collate its music sales for a yet-to-launch daily in-store chart.

ARIA is playing down concerns that Brazin's absence will compromise the chart's accuracy. It points out Brazin only began contributing its figures in 2002.

"Despite Brazin's decision, ARIA will continue to have over 850 music retailers all around Australia contributing their electronic sales data direct from their point of sale systems," ARIA's statement continues. "The Motorola ARIA charts provide the broadest representation of retailers across the country - from chain stores and department stores to independents - and this significant range and volume allows ARIA to confidently report on music product trends at retail."

The 850 data reporting stores include the JB Hi-Fi chain -- which accounts for 18% to 20% of the music retail market -- and department stores Woolworths and Kmart, which collectively account for 15%.