Official UK singles chart to include streamed data

Audio streams from the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Napster will count towards the Official UK Singles Chart rankings from July 2014, it has been revealed.

Posting on their official website, the Official Charts Company confirmed that the move, which is supported by the UK music industry, “follows an explosion in streaming services with the total number of weekly audio streams selected by music fans growing from 100 million a week in January, 2013 to 200 million a week in January, 2014”. The figure is currently at 260 million.

The full list of audio streaming services that will count towards the Official Chart are:

  • Spotify
  • Deezer
  • Napster
  • O2 Tracks
  • Xbox Music
  • Sony’s Music Unlimited
  • rara (powered by Omnifone)

The Official Charts Company added that “both paid and ad-funded” streaming services would count and “to reflect the difference in weight between streaming and purchasing, 100 streams will count as equivalent to 1 single (download or physical single) in the chart compilation process”. Furthermore, a track must be listened to for at least 30 seconds for it to register and plays will be capped at 10 plays per day. The move comes 10 years after sales of digital downloads were first added to the Official Chart.

Speaking about the announcement, Bastille‘s Dan Smith said, “Hearing ‘Pompeii’ has had over 26 million streams is amazing and completely weird and we’re really, really happy. I think streaming going into the chart is definitely a good thing. I think for the charts to be fair, it has to reflect how people digest music.”

The move has been greeted by mixed views from chart fanatics. While some believe that adding streams into the chart doesn’t truly reflect what people are listening to, others believe it’s a sign of the times and that it embraces the new way in which people listen to music.

A side-by-side comparison of both the Official UK Charts, in its current form, and the Official Streaming Chart shows that there are noticeable differences between what people are streaming and what they’re buying.

#

Streaming Chart
(as of June 21st)

Official Chart
(as of June 22nd)

1

Mr Probz – ‘Waves (Robin Schulz Remix)’
(8 weeks in chart)

Ella Henderson – ‘Ghost’
(2 weeks in chart)

2

 Sam Smith – ‘Stay With Me’
(4 weeks in chart)

 5 Seconds of Summer – ‘Don’t Stop’
(new entry)

3

 John Legend – ‘All Of Me’
(17 weeks in chart)

Ed Sheeran – ‘Sing’
(3 weeks in chart)

4

Ed Sheeran – ‘Sing’
(2 weeks in chart)

George Ezra – ‘Budapest’
(new entry)

5

Calvin Harris – ‘Summer’
(7 weeks in chart)

Sam Smith – ‘Stay With Me’
(5 weeks in chart)

Based on these stats, it’s clear that people are streaming music that has been around in the charts for longer, but the way in which the current chart system works doesn’t reflect that (as you can listen to a purchased track as many times as you like, but it will only count towards the sales figures once).

As a result of the upcoming merge, we could be seeing tracks dominating the Official UK Top 40 for longer than ever before. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it could mean that new tracks won’t get the same exposure. Whether this is the case, only time will tell. Stay tuned.

The first Official Singles Chart Top 40 to incorporate streams will be unveiled from 4-7PM on Sunday, the 6th of July on BBC Radio 1, with the full Top 100 published on OfficialCharts.com at 7PM that evening.