U.K. pop charts set to include streaming plays

radio 1 square 300wThe head of Britain’s Radio 1, George Ergatoudis, announced that U.K. top-40 music charts will “soon” include streaming data. The range of services to be measured, and how the streaming consumption will be weighted alongside song purchases, is not disclosed. The Guardian reports that 7.4-billion songs were streamed in the U.K. last year.

The change brings Britain’s pop charts closer to parity with Billboard’s system in the U.S. The Billboard Hot 100 chart is compiled from sales, audio streams, and music videos plays. (And by the way, you can listen to the entire list via Rdio or Spotify directly from the Billboard Streaming Songs page,¬†further sanctioning streaming as viable music consumption.)

Reaction to the news, on Twitter and in The Guardian’s comment section, is fairly negative, with several voices decrying the change. There is some fear of record labels gaming the system by engineering massive stream activity around their artists. But considering the extent to which streaming services mirror song purchases and FM-radio playlists in the top-40 category, it is questionable whether the additional data would skew any top-40 list very much. Music’s biggest stars are the biggest stars on all major platforms.

Brad Hill