News October 27, 2015

UK Albums Chart to include music streams, Australia next?

Former Editor
UK Albums Chart to include music streams, Australia next?

The UK’s Official Albums Chart is the latest to incorporate audio music streams.

Following the likes of the US, Sweden and Norway, data from services including Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Rdio and Google Play will be counted in the chart from March 1.

However, the new UK system differs greatly from the one used in the US, where it equates 1,500 streams of any songs from an album to a full LP sale, and the system used in Sweden and Norway, where two hit singles can skew the performance of its parent album.

The UK Official Charts Company has said it is “the first [market to introduce album streams] using a new methodology designed to ensure that the rundown continues to reflect the popularity of the albums themselves, rather than just the performance of one or two smash hit singles.”

The UK Charts Company explained the new system as follows:

“Official Charts will take the 12 most streamed tracks from the standard version of the album, the top two songs will be down-weighted in line with the average of the rest. The total of these streams will be divided by 1000 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).”

Audio streams for singles were included on the UK Singles chart for the first time last July. The latest move to back streamed LPs follows a record 2014 for the territory, which saw its total number of audio streams climb to just shy of 15 billion. Ed Sheeran's LP X was the most streamed album, clocking up over 200 million streams in the UK.

The Official ARIA Singles Chart incorporated audio streams for the first time on November 24 last year and included in the report of ARIA's annual wholesale figures for 2014 (released last month) it showed that streaming had doubled over the past year by 111% in Australia.

Speaking to TMN, Dan Rosen, Chief Executive Officer at ARIA said a similar integration on the ARIA Albums chart is "certainly on our radar."

“We are very excited to see the Official Charts Company (OCC) decision to incorporate streaming activity together with downloads into their official Album chart," Rosen told TMN.

"Streaming is an extremely important part of the market. […] ARIA is monitoring the local market to determine the right time to make any modifications to the official ARIA Album Chart in the Australian market," he added. "An integrated download and streaming Album chart is certainly on our radar. We aim to continuously evolve the ARIA Charts to ensure that they accurately represent market developments and the new ways that Australian music fans are consuming their favourite music.” 

AIR CEO Dan Nevin told TMN the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) have been watching the inroduction of streaming in album charts closely in Scandinavia, the US and now the UK. 

"The difficulty of including streaming in albums charts is displayed by the fact that there is no consistent model being used worldwide thus far," Nevin told TMN. "There is speculation that some models may serve big hit artists better than album-oriented artists, although it is too early to see if this may be the case. We will watch the US and UK closely, particularly for the impact that the changes may have on independent and artists and when it comes time for the Australian chart to move in this direction, AIR will be looking to ensure that the model supports independent artists."

Naturally, the streaming sector is welcoming the change. Kate Vale, Managing Director at Spotify Australia & New Zealand told TMN: "This is yet another step forward in solidifying music streaming as an authentic measure of modern music consumption, and reiterates the importance of Spotify as an increasingly valuable platform for artists. We'll be monitoring this closely and will continue to work with ARIA to see how we can replicate this locally."  

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