Changes center on digital tracks.

The sales criteria required for digital recordings to qualify for the U.K.'s official singles sales chart are about to change significantly starting Jan. 1.

In a move designed to make it easier for digital tracks to be valid for the Combined Singles Chart, the chart supervisory committee at the Official U.K. Charts Company (OCC) today (Nov. 1) revealed its new rules.

From Jan. 1, any download that registers enough sales for a chart position will be eligible for the Combined Singles Chart from the moment it is available for consumers to purchase.

The committee has stopped the need for downloads to be released one week ahead of a physical version.

Moreover, all digital tracks will be eligible even if they were not intended as singles, including album tracks that are available as individual downloads. And digital bundles no longer need to replicate the exact track lists of the physical version.

However, the maximum length of any individual digital track remains 10 minutes.

Additionally, the committee has decreed that total playing time for all tracks on a physical Maxi single will be extended to 25 minutes, from the current 20 minutes.

Moreover, the maximum number of tracks on a chart-eligible Maxi single will be extended to four (from three), plus the remixed versions of those tracks.

The maximum number of physical formats a single can be released in, including two-track CDs, DVD, 7-inch or 12-inch vinyl, remains at three. And the maximum number of digital-bundle formats also stays unchanged at three.