In 2004 the UK Singles Chart, driven by physical record sales, was supplemented by a separate Official Download Chart. Continuing to track the changing preferences of music consumers, next Monday the Official Charts Company will also add an Official Streaming Chart that ranks songs streamed from both ad-funded and subscription services in the UK.
The move follows last year’s report by Nielsen Soundscan, the company who compile the US Billboard Charts, that showed how 26% of consumers now stream their music online, compared to the 17% who buy downloads. Notably, these same figures had led Billboard to announce a similar On-Demand Songs Chart in America this March.
Trying to keep up with these changing habits, the UK’s Official Streaming Chart will take data from services including Spotify, We7, Napster, Deezer, Zune and ChartsNow. The results will be published weekly in the industry journal Music Week as well as online.
In 2005, one year after its launch, the Official Download Chart was incorporated into the main UK Singles Chart. Although no similar plans yet exist for the Streaming Chart, Spotify’s head of content, Steve Savoca, has called the new ranking a "defining moment in the evolution of digital music as it shows music consumption as a whole."
Will the Official Streaming Chart have a similar shape to one based on record sales or permanent downloads, or is the music that we stream inherently different from the music that we buy? Let us know in the comments. [Guardian]