As the NME reports, the UK's Official Singles Chart is to begin counting audio streams for the first time. As of July 6th, the official rundown will incorporate plays from services including Spotify, Deezer, Napster, O2 Tracks, rara, Sony's Music Unlimited and Xbox Music. Plays on YouTube and other video services will not be counted.
Official Charts Company boss Martin Talbot offered the following statement to the NME regarding the decision:
"About six months ago, we began to seriously start thinking about doing this. We've seen such an upsurge in streaming figures, it became clear we needed to act. Streams have grown from 100 million a week in January 2013 to 260 million now."
"Streaming is a progression from downloads in the same way that downloads took over from CD and vinyl. The charts have always reflected consumers' consumption of the most popular songs every week. Moving forward, to have a chart that's meaningful, streaming needs to be incorporated."
100 streams of a song will count for the same as one purchase under the new system. Also, a song must be streamed for at least 30 seconds before it counts as a play:
"We decided to go with a round number because it's easy to understand - there's a transparency about the chart which we wanted to maintain."
As Talbot reveals, the OCC has developed a system to counter abuse by fans or record labels, who could potentially set up streams and leave them playing on repeat:
"We're capping it at 10 streams per user per day, so an over-enthusiastic One Direction fan can't just play their new single for seven days solid and skew the figures."