Last month, SNEP, the French music trade body, held its annual conference dedicated to the French recorded music market.
As reported here, streaming figures and revenues were the centrepoint of the announcement.
One aspect went however fairly unnoticed: the annual French album chart presented on that occasion was, in a bold move, one that combined sales and streaming data.
The UK, US and, quite recently, Germany have already made this move – folding in streaming data into their weekly charts.
But that hasn’t happened in France, which has always been something of a black sheep amongst the 5 major world music markets when it comes down to producing state-of-the-art charts.
To get a notion of how bold the SNEP streaming year-end chart move was, consider the following.
SNEP launched a weekly streaming chart in September 2014.
It also announced that track downloads and streaming would merge into an official Singles chart in a matter of months. But it never happened.
Contacted in February 2015, Patricia Sarrant, Snep’s spokesperson, indicated technical issues had delayed the introduction of such a chart and hoped these issues would be solved “soon”.
Today, such a chart still does not exist.
The conversion of streams to tracks in a singles chart seems quite simple to implement – once you settle on a conversion ratio that is specific to the French market (as is the case for Spain, for example).
The conversion of streams to album-equivalents, however – the so-called ‘stream-equivalent-album’ concept – is a much more complex affair.
No industry standard really exists; the UK and the US, to name two, have implemented significantly different methods.
This is why SNEP presenting an unprecedented combined annual 2015 albums chart, hot on the heels of BVMI, its German counterpart, was definitely noteworthy.
According to this chart, Adele’s 25, despite being the year’s best-seller, ranked only second to Chambre 12 by Louane (pictured), which was more streamed.
Many other albums ranked differently on SNEP’s annual combined chart than on the plain annual sales chart.
Asked for more details, SNEP spokesperson said last week that they did not want to communicate yet on the streaming/sales formula used (apart from the fact it is “similar to the one used in the UK and Sweden”).
Nor did they give us a date when the weekly albums and singles charts would start combining sales and streams.
However, they insisted that this would be in 2016 and would be done with IFPI’s supervision.
They had also announced, earlier on, that streaming data would start being used in 2016 for the certified awards they deliver.
This article was created for MBW by Elia Habib.
Follow Elia on Twitter here (@EliaHabib1) and check out his blog all about the French music market through here.Music Business Worldwide