UK Top 40 chart to finally include online streaming

23 Jun 2014

Coldplay image via Wikimedia Commons

The Official Charts Company, creator of the weekly list of singles that make up the Top 40 most listened-to songs in the UK, is to count streaming among its rankings for the first time.

With the growth of services such as Spotify, Pandora and even YouTube’s new subscription service, streaming is arguably the most popular medium for listening to music today, with UK figures showing that between 2013 and 2014, there have been 260m streams of songs each week.

Despite this, the Top 40 chart only reflected physical CD sales and songs downloaded through services such as iTunes and Google Music which saw songs that, while popular, were not reflected in a position they were deserving of in the charts.

According to the BBC, the head of the Official Charts Company said the decision to include streaming was about facing the inevitable change in music listenership and “future-proofing” the company.

“So far this year, we’ve seen nine tracks which have been streamed more than 1m times in a week. Last year, there were only two tracks that had reached that kind of level. So we’re seeing a huge growth, up 50pc in the first half of this year.”  

However, the company admits there will not be a like-for-like value placed on streamed songs. According to its rules, one purchased single equates to 100 streams and much like Spotify’s terms and conditions with regard to payment of royalties, a stream will only be considered if it has been played for 30 seconds or more and only 10 plays will be counted per user, per day.

The Official Charts Company also said the first chart to feature streaming figures will begin on Radio 1 on 6 July, but the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) in charge of Ireland’s own Top 40 has yet to confirm the introduction of streaming figures.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic