Alt-J ‘s Gus Unger-Hamilton has said that the Official Charts Company’s decision to incorporate streaming into the singles chart is “exciting” for artists.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, the keyboard player (pictured above centre) said the move would help bands like Alt-J, whose fans tend not to purchase individual singles, but listen to albums as a whole.
“It’s nice for bands who maybe don’t have much impact on the singles chart like us – more of our fans probably stream our music than buy it physically – when it comes to singles certainly, so for us it’s exciting,” he said.
“If you think of artists who are more album based – people listen to their whole albums – it could work well for them because right now the biggest hits have been sales and streaming, singles like ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams and that’s because they’re big singles and have had lots of radio play. I think if people actually listen to a band’s album a lot, that will gradually contribute to each of those songs’ performances in the singles chart, so that would be good for them.”
“If young people are going to think the chats are relevant to them and the music they listen to, then this has got to be a good step,” he concluded.
Beginning with the chart broadcast on July 6, the official rundown will – for the first time – incorporate plays from services including Spotify, Deezer, Napster, O2 Tracks, rara, Sony’s Music Unlimited and X Box Music. Plays on YouTube and other video services will not be counted.
Official Charts Company boss Martin Talbot told NME that the move was prompted by shifts in the way the public consumes music. “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.”
He added: “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.”
It’s a landmark change for the British chart, which has – since 1952 – ranked tracks by sales alone. Under the new system, 100 streams of a song will count for the same as one purchase. A song must be streamed for 30 seconds before it counts as a stream. “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,” said Talbot.
There are currently no plans to incorporate streaming into the Albums Chart.