Spotify and Google Play to be included in UK charts after streaming DOUBLES in 2014

Feb 12, 2015

The Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot says the move was designed to compile “the most accurate, reliable and up-to-date charts”

Albums played on streaming services such as Spotify and Google Play are to be included in the UK charts for the first time in its 59-year history.

The weekly album chart is currently based on physical and digital sales. But music streaming in the UK has doubled over the past 12 months with almost 15bn songs streamed in 2014.

The Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot says the move was designed to compile “the most accurate, reliable and up-to-date charts”.

He added: “In 2015 that means reflecting the popularity of streaming, alongside downloads, vinyl and – still the most popular album format – the CD.

“This is a timely change for the Official Albums Chart, coming as it does just over a year before its 60th anniversary.

"In those six decades, the chart has showcased the greatest musical artworks of all time – from The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Adele’s 21, right up to the latest sets by Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and George Ezra.

“The album is one of the most important art-forms of the past 50 years and this change will ensure that the Official Albums Chart maintains its position as the pre-eminent showcase of the album as a body of work.”


The first chart to include streams will be published on Sunday 1st March – the first chart after The Brits on February 25.

Streaming services including Napster, Music Unlimited and Xbox Music commonly charge subscribers a monthly fee to listen to unlimited tunes, although users aren’t able to download or own the songs.

Ed Sheeran’s X album has been streamed more than 200m times while Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour has had more than 140m streamings.

The UK singles charts updated to this system last July. Only audio streams will be recorded and not video streams on services such as YouTube.

Album streams will be counted by compiling the data from the 12 most-streamed tracks from each album. The top two most-streamed songs will be rounded down to the average of the next ten, with all songs being added together and then divided by 1,000.

The overall number will then be added to the physical and digital sales of the album.

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Each track will have to be played for 30 seconds before it counts as one stream and only ten plays will be counted per user, per day to stop fans from deliberately cheating the system.

The 1,000 ratio is used to reflect the broad difference in value between a track stream and the price paid for an album. Chart bosses say this method will ensure hit singles do not ‘skew’ the performance of a parent album.

The Official Albums Chart has reflected the UK’s biggest albums every week since the first chart was published by Record Mirror 59 years ago.

On that occasion, in 1956, Frank Sinatra’s Songs For Swinging Lovers was the first number one album.

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