The music chart industry is about to catch up with user habits online next week with the launch of the UK’s first Official Streaming Chart.
The new Top 100 rundown, which will launch on Monday May 14, will be compiled by the Official Charts Company with data from the nation’s leading streaming services and supported by the Entertainment Retailers Association (Era) and labels association the BPI.
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This is the first chart which ranks audio streams from both subscription streaming and ad-funded services in the UK, to reflect the growing interest in this new generation of music services. Fans of the countdown can find the list from Monday afternoon (BST) at OfficialCharts.com and it will appear weekly in Music Week as well as the streaming services that contribute the data.
The popularity of music streaming has grown significantly over the past 12 months. The Official Charts Company estimates indicate that 2.6bn audio streams were delivered in the UK last year, while BPI surveys indicate that label revenues from streaming services increased by 30% to £35m in 2011, some 4.5% of total music industry revenues.
It’s a timely step too, as the UK audio streaming sector has taken a series of significant steps forward over the past year. Spotify has dramatically grown its subscriber base, French-founded service Deezer has launched in the UK, while US streaming giant Rhapsody bought established UK player Napster at the beginning of this year.
Top of the pops
To launch the chart, the Official Charts Company has compiled a list of the most streamed artists of 2012 to date. So far, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran as the king of streaming in the UK. Sheeran’s performance is lead by his tracks Drunk, Lego House and The A Team, which are all among the 20 most-streamed tracks of 2012 to date.
Ed Sheeran commented, “Amazing to hear that I am the most streamed act of 2012. Streaming services and online in general have always been an important way for me to get music out to my fans. A new Official Streaming Chart that recognises another way of enjoying music can only be a good thing.”
In addition to the launch reporting audio streaming services, the Official Charts Company is also in advanced discussions with key video streaming services to collect their data with the aim of creating a different, standalone video streaming chart.
Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot sees how this will help music streaming fans understand their services more. He says,
“This is a true coming-of-age moment for music streaming in the UK. Services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster and We7 have been building their audiences over the past few years and are now delivering millions of audio streams every week to hundreds of thousands of music fans. For the first time, from next week, we will have transparency on exactly what they are listening to on these new services.”
The launch of the Official Streaming Chart comes in the year of the Official Singles Chart’s 60th anniversary and reflects the continuing evolution of the UK’s Official Charts, to reflect the changing consumption habits of UK music fans.
It’s amazing to think how the music industry has changed. We’re guessing that with this new addition we don’t have to stand by our stereos with a finger on the pause button of the cassette recorder on a Sunday night, waiting to hear what will be at number one.