Data from music streaming big boys like Spotify, Deezer, Napster, O2 Tracks, Xbox Music and Sony’s Music Unlimited will be used in the UK singles chart for the first time on Sunday 6 July.
It will work by counting 100 streams of a song as equivalent to the sale of 1 single (both download and physical versions) – so with an estimated 260 million streams of songs in the UK per month the OCC will effectively have another 26 million single ‘sales’ every month to help inform their weekly chart. Here’s what their chief executive Martin Talbot had to say about it all:
Audio streaming has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past year – and the time is now right to take this important step. The UK’s Official Singles Chart is culturally among the most important and influential in the world. We have been looking at this possibility for some time and now feel comfortable that our methodology is correct and that summer 2014 is the time that we should take this step.
The Official Singles Chart is (and always has been) the most trusted and definitive measure of Britain’s music tastes. Just as it has evolved through the years to reflect the most popular music in the UK, from 12″ to 7″, vinyl to cassingles, CD singles to downloads, this is the latest stage of that progression – and will align the Official Singles Chart with the consumption habits of the future.
They’ve even gone as far as getting Bastille to record a video about it!
As well as being used to put together the Singles Chart, streaming data will also be used by the BPI in their famous Platinum, Gold and Silver Certified Awards programme. Their chief executive Geoff Taylor said:
The Official Charts are respected around the world as the authoritative measure of UK musical popularity, so it’s vital they continue to reflect the new ways that fans are consuming their favourite music. With streaming becoming ever-more popular, the time is now right to ensure this exciting new format is included in the way our charts are compiled.
At the same time, we are updating the BPI’s Platinum, Gold and Silver Certified Awards programme so that from now on, streams will count towards awards certifications for singles.
It all seems to make sense to incorporate streaming data to give a better reflection on what people are actually listening to, rather than just buying. There is a danger that this new system could be ‘gamed’ by record labels and artists a lot more than the traditional sales-only approach though – particularly as a ‘stream’ only needs to be 30 seconds long to register. You can expect to see ‘snippets’ of tunes all over social media in the coming months as enterprising music industry types look for loopholes and ‘opportunities’ in the system.
Thankfully YouTube is not included as one of the sources of streaming data. It is included in the US, which is why there has been an increase in ever-more outrageous and attention-grabbing ‘viral’ videos being released (think Miley, Iggy Azalea and the rest).
[box type=”info”]What do you think of the decision to include music streaming data in the charts? Is it a good idea? Does anyone even care about the charts anymore!? Join the decision in the comments below….[/box]