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News June 21, 2016

NZ Top 40 Album Chart adds streaming

The Official New Zealand Top 40 Album Charts has begun incorporating on-demand streams, following on from its introduction to the Top 40 Singles Chart last year.

The US Billboard chart incorporated streaming in 2007 but the major streaming services had not arrived in New Zealand until 2015.

Also initiated into the Album Chart from June 17 were revised certification criteria, new Heatseeker charts and bullets to make tracking music consumption trends easier.

Streaming has been adopted quickly by New Zealand music consumers. By 2015 three million tracks were streamed per day – pretty impressive for a country with a population of around 4.5 million.

Last year streaming became for the first time the top source of revenue for record companies and recording artists in New Zealand. It contributed significant to the New Zealand industry’s first growth in 15 years. In 2015, total wholesale revenues grew 12% to $74.4 million – the first growth since 2001. Streaming contributed $25.7 million of total revenue, a 200% increase on 2014.

Late last week, peak music association Recorded Music NZ unveiled a Stream Equivalent Album (SEA) point system.

The current singles audio conversion rate in New Zealand is 1:175 – sales to streams. Taking the 10 most streamed tracks from each album (using the measurement of 10 tracks equals one album), the top two songs will then be down-weighted in line with the average of the rest to ensure the chart is not distorted by an influx of “one-hit albums”. The model is similar to the one adopted by the United Kingdom last year.

Statistics are collected from all major on-demand streaming services including Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play. They are combined to data already received by bricks’n’mortars retailers such as The Warehouse and JB Hi-Fi and digital download retailers such as iTunes. Other data sources are Flying Out, Manna Music, Marbecks, MightyApe, MyMusic Taupo, Real Groovy, Rough Peel, Slowboat, Southbound, The Warehouse and Xbox.

Recorded Music Data General Manager Paul Kennedy pointed out, “Streaming is now the number one method of music consumption in New Zealand, therefore it is essential that the charts accurately reflect music consumption in New Zealand.

“Adding in features such as the Heatseeker charts and bullet tracks enables people to see what’s trending, as well as what’s consistently popular on the Top 40 Charts.”

Albums are required to reach 7,500 SEA points (a combination of sales and streaming) to achieve Gold and 15,000 points to achieve Platinum.

As a result of the massive growth of digital music sales in New Zealand, single certifications will be raised to 15,000 points for Gold and 30,000 for Platinum.

The Heatseeker ranking, the fastest rising tracks outside the Top 40, has been used for Singles. Now it is also expanded to the Album Charts as well as the New Zealand Albums and Singles. These are found on the new ‘Discover’ tab on the nztop40.co.nz website.

Another new introduction, bullet tracks, is applied to the fastest movers already in the Top 40 or Top 20.

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