The Official Charts are a central part of British popular culture. We all remember the number 1s from when we were first learning about and loving music. We all remember listening to the charts when they were announced on Radio One and watching the countdown on Top Of The Pops.
The rest of the world has also always paid attention to the UK charts, which have reflected music tastes in the most influential music nation on the planet for almost 60 years.
The guardians of these charts is the Official Charts Company, a company formed in the late ‘80s to manage the future development of the charts in the fast-moving entertainment industry, as well as to control rights to the charts going back to 1960.
Operating today in offices in County Hall, London, the Official Charts Company is a joint venture between two key trade associations – the BPI (The British Recorded Music Industry) and ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association). It is responsible for the commissioning, marketing, distribution and management of the UK's official music and video charts.
These charts are based on a survey across a panel of retailers, accounting for 99% of all singles sold, 98% of all albums and over 90% of all video. The fast, accurate data used to compile these charts is also made available to music and video industry professionals to assess the progress of their releases, analyse the effectiveness of advertising campaigns across the country and assess the best way of promoting their products.
Among the many media licensees of the Official Charts is the BBC for whom our charts are the centre-piece of Radio One's Official Charts Show, the UK's most popular national radio show, which is broadcast every Sunday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm and unveils each week's Number One, just minutes before 7pm. The chart is also broadcast across the globe, including the BBC’s World Service Network, which can boast more than 120m listeners throughout the world.
BPI (The British Recorded Music Industry)
The BPI is the British record industry's trade association. The BPI represents thousands of British record companies throughout the UK, providing many services, including copyright protection & legal expertise, government lobbying, conducting research, statistics, export advice, practical support at trade fairs, specialist media briefings, essential business advice, education and training programmes and the Brit Awards.
ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association)
ERA is a UK trade organisation formed to act as a forum for the retail and wholesale sectors of the music, video, DVD and multimedia products industry. Then named BARD (British Association of Record Dealers), it was formed in 1988 by a group of music retailers - independents, multiples and wholesalers - to represent operators of record shops in their dialogue with the UK's record companies.