New CD singles featuring only two tracks will be available next year in an attempt to boost single sales.
New CDs will feature only two tracks
The new format is expected to be much cheaper than standard CD singles, the Official UK Charts Company (OOC) said.
"Many people in the industry have long advocated the need for an inexpensive two-track CD single," OCC chairman Richard Wootton said.
The OCC are also looking at including legal downloads of songs to count towards chart positions as well.
The changes, which were agreed last Tuesday, are said to be the most radical review of the charts set-up in the last five years.
The overhaul, which takes effect on 1 January 2004, is an attempt to halt falling singles sales, which have been in decline for years.
The new rules have been drawn up with help from over 100 record company executives, the OOC said.
"This project is a perfect example of how retailers and record companies can work together for the good of the industry," Mr Wootton said.
The current single format - which can boast several tracks - will now be called a maxi-disc.
The new two-track CDs will feature an A side and B side, and will have to run for under ten minutes. They cannot offer any free gifts and will have to be in standard CD jewel cases.
Maxi CDs can now offer three tracks, plus remixes, as long as the total time does not run over 20 minutes. Three different formats will count toward the chart placing.
"What we have ended up with is a complete MOT of the charts," said OCC charts consultant Steve Redmond.
"The overwhelming conclusion is that in the OCC, the UK music industry has a research tool which is unrivalled in its accuracy and integrity. This is the best chart in the world," he said.
Setting up a chart using downloads was continuing to be a problem, however.
"There are numerous logistical and practical problems involved in producing a download chart," said charts director Omar Maskatiya.
"We are committed only to including downloads in the Official Chart if the data meets similar standards of quality and integrity as our existing charts," he said.