Streaming in UK’s Albums Chart: How will it work?

The UK’s Official Charts Company is at pains to maintain the “integrity” of its albums chart as it greets streaming data into its compilation formula for the first time.

As such, it’s come up with a fairly complicated weighting system to try its best to ensure that ‘real’ album plays on the likes of Spotify and Deezer are reflected.

The UK system differs to Billboard‘s formula in the US, which relies on simple ‘Streaming Equivalent Albums’ – equating 1,500 streams of any songs from an album to a full LP sale.

In Scandinavia, another slightly different method is used. In the likes of Sweden and Norway, no single track can account for more than 70% of the plays considered for inclusion as an ‘album’. However, this does mean that if an LP contains two hit singles, these can then drive the album into the chart.

As the Official Charts Company puts it: “While the UK will not be the first market to introduce streams to the Official Albums Chart, it will be the first to do so using a new methodology designed to ensure that the rundown continues to reflect the popularity of the albums themselves, rather than just the performance of one or two smash hit singles.”

The Official Chart company explains: how will streams be incorporated into the UK Album chart?

Official Charts will take the 12 most-streamed tracks from each album. The top two tracks will be down-weighted in line with the average of the next 10.

These streams will then be added together and divided by 1,000. This ‘stream factor’ will then be added to the physical/digital sales of the album.

The reason for down-weighting the two most streamed tracks is to ensure that if an album features up to two smash hit singles, streams of these tracks do not skew the performance of their parent album in the Official Album Chart.

Extreme examples of this might include huge hits such as Blurred Lines on the Robin Thicke album, Get Lucky on Random Access Memories, All Of Me on John Legend’s album Love In The Future, or Uptown Funk on Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special – but this is an even wider issue, with almost all albums featuring one or two singles whose streams could skew their album chart position.

The 1,000 ratio is used to reflect the broad difference in value between a track stream and the price paid for an album.

 Music Business Worldwide

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