Any label or artist looking to mount a challenge in the Official Charts or to ensure that their sales / streams can be tracked through the Official Charts’ data services must ensure that they are taking place through an Official Charts reporting service / retailer.
What is a chart reporting retailer? These are retailers or digital services which report to Millward Brown for the Official Charts, whether download retailers, streaming services, independent record shops, supermarkets, specialist chains, general retailers. These retailers/music services contribute to the charts and the data services provided by Official Charts.
If I am releasing music: Once you have registered your releases and ensured that you are complying with the UK’s Official Chart Rules, you need to make sure that all the retailers you wish to sell/stream through are aware of your release. If you are working with a distributor, they should do this on your behalf; if you have chosen to self-distribute, you need to ensure that all of the retailers are aware of your release’s details and how it can be ordered.
Strictly speaking, the details of chart return retailers are kept confidential, so it is advised that you attempt to retail your release through as wide a variety of retailers as possible.
Sales information is supplied by “over the counter” retailers, as well as home delivery/mail order retailers and digital stores to constitute the Official Charts Company's “Defined Universe”. This represents approximately 99% of the total UK singles market, 95% of the total UK albums market and over 90% of the total UK video market.
The chart return retailers include all the major high street chains, supermarkets, internet retailers, digital music retailers and mobile download providers.
Because it is impractical to collect sales data from all independent stores, sales data is weighted up from a representative sample of stores. This produces the DUS (Defined Universe Sales figure) for the independent sector.
As video coverage is less than 95%, the video industry also estimates how the whole market has performed, using multipliers which are agreed in consultation with the BVA (British Video Association). The multipliers are calculated periodically for each format and genre and are applied to the DUS figure to give an approximate total market figure.
If I am a retailer - the Official Charts Company aims to recruit any store in the UK which sells significant numbers of audio or video product per week (excluding record/video "clubs", whose trading terms don’t comply with current chart rules).
For a retailer to become part of the chart panel there are strict criteria - these cover factors such as a solid trading history, stocking a range of music/products, a minimum daily sales volume and the ability to meet the technical specification for reporting.
Official Charts also launched a new system in Autumn 2015, allowing labels and management companies to sell albums at live gigs, using a system called Lightning Live. Details of this system are here.
For further information on reporting your sales data to the chart panel, please contact Chris Austin. E: Chris@officialcharts.com