The Official U.K. Charts Co. will begin incorporating download sales data into the weekly U.K. singles chart starting April 17, a month after originally planned. The British Phonographic Industry said

The Official U.K. Charts Co. will begin incorporating download sales data into the weekly U.K. singles chart starting April 17, a month after originally planned. The British Phonographic Industry said today (Feb. 28) that the original March 20 launch date has been postponed due to concerns that independent repertoire is not adequately represented through legitimate online sources.

BPI chairman Peter Jamieson says the extra time was essential to help establish "a realistic level playing field" of opportunity for the indies.

"The inclusion of download formats in the official U.K. singles chart is the most significant development in the charts for 20 years," says Jamieson. "But for a multitude of reasons, the current chart representation of independent repertoire at the major download outlets is poor."

In a show of cohesion with the independent labels sector, the BPI has asked OCC charts director Omar Maskatiya to present plans for the new chart in the coming weeks to representatives of the Assn. of Independent Music. The BPI recently began a lobbying initiative to urge online music services to give priority to indie releases.

Plans for the inclusion of download data in the national singles survey have been in the works for more than a year. Britain's first download chart was launched Sept. 1, 2004, by the OCC, a joint venture of the BPI and British retail association BARD.