The sales tracking process behind the Official Charts is highly complex, representing one of the most sophisticated ongoing market research programmes anywhere in the world. The key steps for creation of the Official Charts and the background data accessed by the music and video industries are as follows:
Data capture – daily
Sales data is retrieved daily from the Official Chart Panel retailers into Millward Brown's central computer system. The Chart Panel is split into retailer types - covering General, Specialist, Supermarkets, Independents and Digital. The data collection is carried out via a variety of electronic methods depending on the type of retailer.
Data checking – daily
Once the sales data has been collected, a number of processes begin to determine the final chart positions. This process involves vigorous security checks. Any sales anomalies that are detected are investigated before being allowed to be included in the chart audit.
The sales data is then matched to the product database of all the chart registered physical and digital data. This is why it is so important for releases to be registered correctly in the first instance.
Midweek Charts - Tuesday to Friday
The first day of the midweek chart information is Tuesday containing sales data for Sunday and Monday. These are used throughout the week by the music and video industries as a guideline for the final published chart on Sundays.
Sunday 1.30pm - The Final Weekly Charts
The official weekly charts are produced each Sunday. Historically, the BBC has a special relationship with the Official Music Charts and the BBC has first broadcasting rights to the Official UK Singles Chart. The Radio 1 UK Top 40 Countdown is broadcast each week on Sunday evenings.