The commercial radio chart show Hit40UK will not count physical sales of singles in its weekly countdown from Sunday (Jan. 11). It will now be based on digital sales and airplay.

However, the rival Official U.K. Singles Chart, which airs on national Top 40 station BBC Radio 1, will continue to base its rundown on physical and digital sales. Both charts are compiled by the Official Charts Company.

The networked Hit40UK show is presented by Global Radio and airs on more than 130 commercial stations in the U.K. from 4pm to 7pm every Sunday. It claims an audience of 1.9 million.

"The Hit40UK chart has always been at the heart of the U.K.'s music trends, reflecting radio listening and music buying for over 15 years," said Martin Talbot, managing director of the OCC, in a statement. "We are delighted to be working with the commercial radio sector to take the chart into the future."

According to figures issued by labels trade body the BPI and OCC this week, physical singles fell 43.5% year-on-year in 2008 to 4.8 million. That represents just 4.2% of the total U.K. single tracks market, which increased 33% year-on-year to 115.1 million.

Paul Jackson, group programme director, 95.8 Capital FM, the Hit Music Network, the Xfm Network and Hit40UK, said in a statement: "Downloads have now become the driving force for record sales, as the statistics clearly show. We constantly look to innovate and sit at the cutting edge of music taste and trends."

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