Streaming singles have been factored into the charts since last July, but so far streamed albums have been noticeably absent. That is about to change, with 1st March being the first album chart to factor in streaming plays.
All music played from Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music, Napster, Xbox Music, Rdio, Rara, and O2 Tracks will be included in the new count. YouTube will not since it’s not considered to be a music service, though Gizmodo UK speculates that the official launch of YouTube Music Key later this year could change that attitude.
The reason why it’s taken so long for streaming to be included in the album charts is the inherent difficulty in actually measuring it. If you buy an album it includes all of the tracks, regardless of whether or not someone listens to them, but cherrypicking tracks from an album on a streaming service could leave half of them unheard. Thankfully the Official Chart Company has come up with a system to make it work.
It will look at each album available to listen to on streaming services, finding the 12 most popular tracks on each one in the process. It will then down-weigh the top two tracks, based on the average streams of the next 10. This count will be added up and divided by 1000 to give the album a ‘stream factor’ that is added to the number of downloads and physical sales to create a final figure.
This new system will come into effect on February 23rd, ready for the chart on 1st March, and it’ll be very interesting to see how this affects the final top 10.