A new date has been agreed...

The BPI has delayed the merging of the merger of the UK DOWNLOAD CHART into the OFFICIAL SINGLES CHART.

The Top 40 countdown was to have assimilated digital sales from March 20, but that date has now been postponed after the trade association decided that independent artists were not adequately represented in the online market.

A new date of April 17 has been agreed, with a series of initiatives to get independent music online to be implemented in the interim period.

BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said: “I am very pleased we have secured this delay on behalf of independents. We have to try and establish a realistic ‘level playing field’ of opportunity. It’s all about market access. We are working with everyone involved to try and prioritise potential hit singles and ensure they are available for download.”

He added: “The inclusion of download formats in the Official UK Singles Chart is the most significant development in the charts for 20 years. But for a multitude of reasons the current chart representation of independent repertoire is poor. We have consulted widely with our independent members and we want to give both sides more time to work on this problem.”

The UK download chart was launched last September, with the first top spot taken by Westlife‘s

five-year-old ‘Flying Without Wings’