The Official Albums Chart in the UK will incorporate audio streams as of March 2015, the Official Charts Company has announced.
The change will come into effect during BRIT Awards week (beginning Monday, February 23rd, 2015), with the first chart to incorporate audio streams being published on Sunday, March 1st, 2015.
So, how will it work? The Official Charts Company will collect streaming data from Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Google Play, O2 Tracks, Rara, Rdio and Xbox Music, though only the 12 most streamed tracks from the standard version of the album will be taken into account.
The top two songs from the album will be down-weighted in line with the average of the rest. The reason for this is to ensure that any albums featuring up to two runaway hit singles do not skew the performance of the parent album in the Official Albums Chart.
The total of these streams will be divided by 1,000 and added to the physical and digital sales of the album. The 1,000 ratio is used to reflect the broad difference in value between a track stream and the price paid for an album.
Speaking about the announcement, Official Charts Company Chairman Korda Marshall said: “The Official Charts are a UK institution, followed both by music fans and the industry, so we do not make changes to them lightly. But with more and more people listening to albums via streaming services, it is right that we are now going to reflect streaming in the Official Albums Chart.
“It is particularly appropriate that this change will take place from BRITs week, when we will be celebrating some of today’s biggest album artists, like Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, Alt-J and Royal Blood, among many others.”
Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot added: “The Official Charts Company’s mission is to compile the most accurate, reliable and up-to-date charts around, and in 2015 that means reflecting the popularity of streaming, alongside downloads, vinyl and – still the most popular album format – the CD.
“Initial indications are that the impact on actual chart positions will be modest to begin with, but we expect this to grow as streaming becomes increasingly popular.”
According to the Official Charts Company, Ed Sheeran’s “X” was the most streamed album of 2014, having generated more than 200 million track streams, Sam Smith’s “In The Lonely Hour’ was streamed over 140 million times and George Ezra’s ‘Wanted on Voyage’ notched up 70 million streams.