Music tracks streamed online will be counted as part of the Official Singles Chart in the UK from next month under changes backed by the music industry, to reflect the growing popularity of online streaming over downloads and physical CD sales.
Songs played on services like Spotify, Deezer and Napster are set to feature in the chart, marking the first time positions could be affected without fans paying any money.
Music streaming doubled in popularity in the UK between 2013 and 2014, from 100 million to 200 million streams a week, currently averaging 260 million.
Bastille’s track Pompeii is the UK’s most streamed track ever, but only made number two in the singles countdown.
How it works
The Official Charts Company says 100 plays will equal a single sale. Songs will have to be streamed for a minimum of 30 seconds to qualify. There will also be controls in place to prevent users playing songs too many times to manipulate the rankings.
Streaming data will also be included by the BPI when it certifies platinum, gold and silver discs.
The number of streams rose from 100 million each week in January 2013, to 200 million at the beginning of 2014.
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. The Official Singles Chart is, and always has been, the most trusted and definitive measure of Britain’s music tastes.
“Just as it has evolved through the years to reflect the most popular music in the UK, from 10-inch to 7-inch, vinyl to cassingles, CD singles to downloads, this is the latest stage of that progression.”
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of music industry body the BPI, said: “The Official Charts are respected around the world as the authoritative measure of UK musical popularity, so it’s vital they continue to reflect the new ways that fans are consuming their favourite music.”