British charts compiler the Official UK Charts Company has issued a new set of rules for its singles chart, allowing the inclusion of digital memory devices such as USB memory sticks.

The Official UK Charts Company and the Chart Supervisory Committee recently reviewed the rules covering physical releases. Digital memory devices with a capacity of 256MB will now be chart eligible, with a minimum price of £2.49 ($3.37 US).

Apart from the price, the rules for the DMD content are the same as the Maxi single and the Maxi single Remix formats. The Maxi single must have a maximum playing time of 25 minutes and four separate songs and alternative versions up to the total playing time. The remix version of the format allows just one song and alternative versions up to 40 minutes playing time.

Acts to release singles on USB devices so far include Keane and The Fratellis.

According to the OCC, the result of the shake-up is that the new singles chart rules will allow more freedom for labels to combine formats, so they can split tracks between physical releases and downloads.

Under the new rules, the 2-track single will also be replaced with a 1-track + single to allow labels to divide content between a physical release that includes two songs, plus additional content available as a download from a microsite; or one song with a ringtone or video, and the download track. A one-track CD single is also being introduced with a minimum price of 60p.

To be chart eligible, a maximum of three physical formats can be released and one of them must be an entry level format -- either a 1-track CD single, a 1-track + CD single or a seven-inch vinyl single.

The new rules will be effective from Sep. 16. The Official UK Singles Chart is based on a sample of more than 4,000 music outlets.