How Spotify data could shake up the Official Singles Chart

Lynsey Barber
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Spotify and other music services will count towards the UK charts (Source: Spotify)

Music streamed through online services such as Spotify will contribute to the UK’s music charts for the first time, better reflecting people’s listening habits.

Streaming data from Spotify, Deezer, Napster, O2 Tracks, Xbox Music, Sony’s Music Unlimited and Omnifone owned Rara will now form part of the Official Singles Chart announced on Sunday evenings.

The move is a response to the growth of streaming services in the UK. The number of audio streams a week doubled from 100m in January 2013 to 200m in January 2014 and currently stands at 260m per week.

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.”

Audio streams will be weighted differently with purchases, physical or downloads, with 100 streams the equivalent of a single purchase and will begin being counted with the 6 July chart.

Streaming data has been compiled by the Official Charts Company since 2009 and published as a separate chart since 2012. The streaming figures expand the charts’ digital music reporting adding to digital download figures which were first incorporated into the full singles chart alongside physical sales in 2005.

At the same time, a new Official Breakers Chart will launch charting the fastest growing singles each week based on the number of sales and streams.

How could streaming data shake up the charts?

The introduction of streaming data could have a significant impact on the chart position of artists.

Specific sales, download and streaming numbers are not released publicly, however based on the most recent available charts, streaming data could provide a boost to those currently sitting lower down in the Official Singles Chart.

Streaming chart number one, Waves by Mr Probz, sits at number five in the main singles chart and John Legend’s All of Me is No3 in the streaming chart but sits at No10 in the main chart.

On the other hand, the current official UK No1, Ghost by Ella Henderson languishes further down the streaming charts at No22.

A number of songs not ranked in the Official Singles Chart but popular in the streaming chart could make a return to the main chart, though this would depend on the actual streaming and sales numbers.

Whereas a physical purchase or a download is only made once but could be played a number of times, the counting of 100 streams as a single purchase could provide particularly popular songs with a longer shelf life in the charts.

Bastille’s Pompeii for instance, which has been streamed over 26m times, still ranks in the streaming charts but has dropped out the main charts.

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