A new initiative aims to get venue sales into the charts for the first time.

Touring artists are set to get a chart boost with the launch of a new platform to integrate merch stall record sales into the UK Official Albums Chart.

The Official Charts Company developed Lightning Live after being approached by both independent and major labels, who are increasingly using live events as a way to reach fans’ wallets.

“We strive constantly to ensure that the Official Charts reflects and responds to consumer behaviour – and this move, following just a few months after the integration of streams, further underlines this strategy,” said the OCC’s Omar Maskatiya.

As CMU reports, Lightning Live uses a password-protected web interface to allow venue retailers to submit their sales data, which is then checked by Official Charts and research partner Millward Brown.

The OCC explains: “[Venue-based] retailers are required to submit a pre-event inventory report, along with full details of the concert, summary of capacity, tickets sold, before then submitting details of sales achieved. Millward Brown will cross-reference with existing data reports to ensure sales fall within accepted sales patterns – any suspect data will not be included in the Official Chart survey.”

Unfortunately that means that stalls run by the artists themselves, or their managers, won’t be counted – a blow to the underground acts quietly selling hundreds of records at small venues up and down the country. Still, for artists playing medium-sized spaces where the venue controls the merch stand, the change could mean a significant boost up the chart.

And yes, that is Suede merch pictured. It’s hard to find photos of merch stands.

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