France now counts streaming towards certified ‘sales’ awards

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Snep, the French music trade body, has announced that streaming plays will now count towards the certified awards it delivers to labels and artists.

This will encompass all tracks and albums released since January 2016.

Certification levels have been updated accordingly, with the most dramatic change occurring on the tracks front.

Until now, a track was awarded a Diamond certification for sales exceeding 250k units.

Henceforward, the adopted threshold will be 35 million stream-equivalents.

Yes, you read that right: Stream-equivalents.

Rather than converting streams to the more common sale-equivalents, Snep has chosen to do the opposite, counting 1 sale as 150 streams.

The concept obviously reflects the ever-increasing weight of streaming in the French music market and, most of all, the vanishing business of track downloads: since the beginning of the year, the weekly most-downloaded tracks have broken all-time-low sale levels at 5 different times, digging deeper and deeper to levels mathematically unheard of in a country of 67 million inhabitants.

The latest all-time low, set 5 weeks ago, stands at a pitiful 2,100 units, leaving the download chart looking pretty meaningless.

In parallel, streaming business has continued booming: the total number of audio streams grew by a staggering 71% year-to-year in the first half of 2016, at 12.8 billion streamed tracks, according to Snep.

The new certification levels that apply as of January 1st, 2016, stand as follows:

Gold is given for tracks achieving 10 million stream-equivalents, while Platinum rewards those beyond 20 million and Diamond crowns songs surpassing 35 million.

This has already resulted in awards given to 50 tracks, among which 3 have gone Diamond.

There is a lot more to come; Snep now indicates the list will be updated weekly, as the BPI does in the UK.

Snep began issuing certified awards in 1973. The very first record to go Gold was Donna Hightower’s ‘This World Today Is A Mess’, on Decca, on October 15th, 1973, for sales of 500,000 singles.

Platinum level awards were introduced in May 1980 for sale of 1 million copies.

‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ by The Buggles (pictured), on Phonogram, was among the first records to go Platinum in France.

Finally, Diamond singles were launched in 1996 for records shifting more than 750k units (in the meantime, Platinum and Gold levels had been decreased).

Los Del Rio’s ‘Macarena’, on Ariola/BMG, was the first record ever to go Diamond.

As of today, 186 different records have reached the highest-level possible award.

French singer Michel Sardou holds the record for the most of these (8), while Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ ‘Can’t Hold Us’ is the slowest-selling Diamond single ever, having taken 3 years and 2 months to get there.

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

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