In the latest chapter in the “music industry bigwigs attempt to get their heads around this technology thing” saga, it’s looking likely that streamed songs from the likes of Spotify will start counting towards the Top 40.
The Official UK Charts Company, which compiles the weekly singles table, says it is “bound to” include streamed tunes in the future, although not for a year or two yet.
However, since the songs are free, it’s probable that an individual play will count for less than a bought single.
This comes four years after downloaded tracks were included in the chart for the first time and a couple of years since the discussion on whether songs sold on memory sticks should be counted.
Nowadays, 98 per cent of all single sales are digital, and the once-beleaguered medium has seen a 400 per cent rise in sales since the low of 2003.
“The key task that we’ve been getting to grips with over the past 18 months has been ensuring that post-download, and post-permanent ownership of music, we’re also counting how consumers are consuming their music in other ways,” Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company, told the BBC.
“The charts have always been there as a popularity poll, as a means of identifying what are the hottest records of the moment. That’s been relatively simple when people have bought stuff to keep forever. But that’s going to become increasingly more complicated.”