UK singles chart to include online streaming data

Not for the first time in recent years, the times are a-changing when it comes to the official singles charts with the news that streaming data is soon to be included.

The move – revealed by the Official Charts Company – is coming into effect next month [July] and means tracks streamed by Spotify, Napster, Deezer et al will now be eligible for the charts.

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It could be said that this is the biggest shake-up of the UK singles chart for a decade, with sales of digital downloads included by the Official Charts Company since 2004.

And with currently 260 million audio streams in the UK each week, the Official Charts Company's decision is an indication of how streaming has taken the industry by storm.

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But just before you start thinking this announcement means old favourites from yesteryear will be flooding the charts, the numbers involved makes that somewhat unlikely.

Daft Punk's Get Lucky became the first track to be streamed 1 million times in a single week, with nine tracks in total having passed that milestone so far this year.

The decision has been made possible by an agreement between streaming services and rara, all members of the Entertainment Retailers Association, to supply weekly data.

And the technicalities are such that 100 streams will count as being equivalent to one single that is either physically or digitally purchased when it comes to compiling the charts.

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Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot said: "Audio streaming has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past year – and the time is now right to take this important step.

"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."

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by Pete Hayman

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Pete was content editor on What Hi-Fi?, overseeing production and publication of digital content. In creating and curating feature articles for web and print consumption, he provided digital and editorial expertise and support to help reposition What Hi-Fi? as a ‘digital-first’ title; reflecting the contemporary media trends. He is now a senior content strategist.