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UK Charts Company to recognise album sales on USB Flash disks

Enter the DMD (Digital Memory Device)

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Exclusive The Official UK Charts Company (OCC), the organisation that maintains the UK's music sales tables, will include albums sold on USB Flash disks in its tallies from next Monday, 29 October, Register Hardware has learned.

In an email sent by the OCC to labels and seen by Register Hardware, the organisation gives notice that it will recognise two types of what it calls DMDs - Digital Memory Devices. "Standard DMDs" will have a storage capacity of no more than 512MB, enough for a standard album's selection of tracks and bonus songs and/or 25 minutes of video content. Standard DMDs can contain multimedia content too, just as so-called Enhanced CDs do today.

"Deluxe DMDs" will offer up to 5GB of storage for albums, videos, multimedia and other "added value" material pertinent to the artist. Think the equivalent of the CD box-set.

The OCC expects Standard DMDs to be pitched as "mid-price" products with a minimum dealer price of £3.76 - so around a fiver to the consumer. Deluxe DMDs must have a minimum dealer price of £8.20 - ten pounds to the customer - to count toward a chart placing, the OCC's email reveals.

Of course, there's nothing to stop labels releasing different DMD configurations, but only sales of these two forms will be added to an album's chart position. The OCC's rules give no guidance on the use of DRM technology one way or the other. Some labels are likely to use it - others, like EMI, probably won't, just as they no longer impose DRM on iTunes downloads, for instance.

What is interesting is the shift away from singles toward albums. It had been assumed that USB offerings would be singles. However, with the music industry concerned about consumers increasingly buying tracks on a one-off basis rather than in album batches, the album-centric focus of DMDs shouldn't come as any surprise.

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