Releases linked to competition prizes no longer eligible.

Music releases linked to consumer competition prizes are no longer eligible for the U.K. official sales charts, according to newly amended rules at the London-based Official U.K. Charts Company (OCC).

The OCC's Chart Supervisory Committee says that labels can no longer submit for chart entry digital or physical releases purchased or acquired by consumers as part of a competition prize.

Releases affected include CD-packaged recordings featuring competition inserts, or a competition that relies on consumers purchasing a specific release to gain a prize. The new regulation is effective since Oct. 6.

"Historically, we've always allowed [music] prizes to be included as part of sales," explains Omar Maskatiya, the London-based OCC's chart director. "And we've noticed that the prizes have become bigger and bigger in terms of value. It was, therefore, opened to debate whether someone wanted to enter a competition or whether they wanted to buy the song."

Releases linked to competitions launched before and including Oct. 6 are not affected by the new rules even if the competition expires after that date.

The rules do not prevent labels from offering competitions involving releases, just as long as those recordings are not included in their sales figures.