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The UK Singles Chart (currently titled the Official Singles Chart, with the upper section more commonly known as the Official UK Top 40) is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV (Official UK Top 40), is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.
The OCC website contains the Top 100 chart. Some media outlets only list the Top 40 (such as the BBC, with their Radio 1 show following the lead of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 in the 1970s) or the Top 75 (such as Music Week magazine, with all records in the Top 75 described as 'hits') of this list. The chart week runs from 00:01 Friday to midnight Thursday.
The Top 40 chart is first issued on Friday afternoons by BBC Radio 1 as The Official Chart from 16:00 to 17:45, before the full Official Singles Chart Top 100 is posted on the Official Charts Company's website. A rival chart show, The Official Big Top 40, is broadcast on Sunday afternoons from 16:00 to 19:00 on Capital and Heart stations across the United Kingdom. The Official Big Top 40 is based on Apple data only, (Apple Music streams and iTunes downloads) plus commercial radio airplay across the Global radio network.
The UK Singles Chart began to be compiled in 1952. According to the Official Charts Company's statistics, as of 1 July 2012, 1,200 singles had topped the UK Singles Chart. The precise number of chart-toppers is debatable due to the profusion of competing charts from the 1950s to the 1980s, but the usual list used is that endorsed by the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and subsequently adopted by the Official Charts Company. The company regards a select period of the New Musical Express chart (only from 1952 to 1960) and the Record Retailer chart from 1960 to 1969 as predecessors for the period up to 11 February 1969, where multiples of competing charts (none official) coexisted side by side. For example, the BBC compiled its own chart based on an average of the music papers of the time; many songs announced as having reached number one on BBC Radio and Top of the Pops before 1969 are not listed as chart-toppers according to the legacy criteria of the Charts Company.
The first number one on the UK Singles Chart was "Here in My Heart" by Al Martino for the week ending 14 November 1952. As of the week ending 21 September 2023, the UK Singles Chart has had 1,416 different number one hits. The current number one single is "Paint the Town Red" by Doja Cat.