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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
OFT rejects 'unfair' chart claim
Top 40 chart
Tony Christie topped the first official combined top 40 in April
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has rejected calls by independent record labels for an inquiry into the combined UK download and CD singles chart.

An OFT spokeswoman said there were not "reasonable grounds to suspect" that competition regulations had been infringed by last month's chart merger.

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) had asked the OFT to investigate the Official Charts Company's actions.

AIM claimed the chart was unfair as few key retail outlets sold indie music.

The OFT spokeswoman said the file on the combined chart was now closed.

She said: "Based on the information provided, we do not have reasonable grounds to suspect that the Competition Act 1998 has been infringed by the decision by OCC or OCC's shareholders to launch a combined physical and download chart now, in the present form."

The complaint was lodged with the OFT shortly before the first combined chart was announced on April 17.

Catching up

At the time the complaint was lodged, AIM chief executive Alison Wenham said it took the step only after the organisation had "exhausted all other options".

AIM were concerned about indie music's absence from key retail outlets taking part in the chart and a lack of download sales figures.

The Official Charts Company (OCC) called the complaint "unfounded" and said it was confident the new chart would "maintain high standards of accuracy".

The decision to merge the previously separate download and shop sales charts came after the volume of songs sold on the net began to catch up with the number of singles bought in shops.

In the first three months of 2005, 4.5 million tracks were downloaded legally in the UK - compared with 5.8 million bought over the counter.


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