The Australian Recording Industry Assn. has confirmed it will change its official chart week cycle. With effect from Jan. 16, the labels' body's chart week will begin tallying first sales from Saturda

The Australian Recording Industry Assn. has confirmed it will change its official chart week cycle. With effect from Jan. 16, the labels' body's chart week will begin tallying first sales from Saturday morning to the last sale on Friday evening. Currently, the chart cycle measures first sale Sunday to last sale Friday.

This follows the Australian Music Retailers Assn.'s surprise Dec. 1 call to its members to begin racking new release stock on Saturday, traditionally the busiest day for retail. Until then, retailers had held off from releasing product on Saturday to fit in with ARIA's weekly charts cycle.

The first new chart will be created Saturday, Jan. 21, and published the following day. ARIA collates the sales data from 1,100 music stores across Australia.

In a statement, ARIA says the new cycle "will ensure record labels can maximize the impact of new releases on the charts and will allow retailers to rack new releases on a Saturday to satisfy consumer demand."

To implement ARIA's move, the chart for the transitional week will be based on sales for six days only, from Jan. 15-20, ARIA said. ARIA and AMRA are understood to have negotiated to change the chart week in February.

Sources in the retailer sector tell Billboard.biz of concern that labels are diverting more advertising dollars from traditional to online retailers. As a result, they no longer feel the need to hold new releases until Sunday out of loyalty to labels. Department stores who are not among AMRA's 700 members already racked new stock on Saturdays.

"Retailers are clearly a vital partner in the success of the recording industry in Australia," said John O'Donnell, ARIA chart and marketing committee chairman and managing director of EMI Music Australia. "The ARIA charts are a critical sales tool for the industry, so it's important that they adapt to changes in the retail sector in this increasingly competitive market."