The Official UK Chart enters a new era this summer, as streaming services add video to their platforms to count towards the weekly rankings.
Streaming and downloading of videos from artists such as Dua Lipa, Drake, Arctic Monkeys and Ariana Grande will count towards the UK’s official singles countdown, which is compiled by the Official Charts Company and unveiled by BBC Radio 1 every Friday afternoon.
In an age where people are watching music as well as listening to it, the long-standing chart risks becoming irrelevant. Last year, Despacito smashed past the 4 billion views barrier, highlighting how big a role video now plays in the consumption of tracks. And so, after the chart updated to take into account streams of audio tracks, whether on premium subscription or ad-funded services, as well as sales of CD and vinyl and downloads, the chart is again switching its stats up, to include video streams. The services that will contribute video streams to the chart will include Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music and Tidal, who have all added video to their platform over the past year. Indeed, YouTube Music has just launched its subscription service in the UK for the first time, joining Apple Music and Spotify.
While Ed Sheeran claimed the UK’s biggest music video of 2017 overall with Shape Of You, the iconic video for Dua Lipa’s New Rules currently nabs the title of most streamed video by a female artist, notching up 60 million UK streams.
“Can you believe it? I can’t!” Dua said of New Rules’ success. “Thank you for all your love and support, it means the absolute world to me. The response to New Rules was so crazy and I am so grateful for it. Video was really important to me in my career – it’s another way as artists that we can get our music to our fans.”
Official Charts Company chief executive, Martin Talbot, says: “This is a significant step for the UK and ensures The Official Chart continues to be the most comprehensive and trusted chart in the UK, bar none. Consumption of recorded music via more than 15,000 retailers, download stores and streaming services of all kinds contribute to the weekly chart countdown.
“In the modern era, artists are increasingly multi-faceted creators, with a highly developed visual sense running in parallel with their music. The addition of video ensures that the Official Singles Chart reflects the creativity of the artist in the broadest way possible – and music fans’ engagement with that vision.”
In a parallel change, free ad-funded streams will be weighted at a different rate in the UK’s Official Singles Chart compared to streams played under a paid-for subscription. 100 streams via a subscription service will equate to one sale, as will 600 “free” streams. This replaces the current combined conversion rate, which means all streams are treated equally – with one sale equivalent to 150 streams. This will apply to both video and audio streams equally. The shift is being made during a period of great change in the international music market, with markets such as France, Germany, Spain and Italy choosing not to count ad-funded streams at all in their charts, while Billboard has also downrated ad-funded streams against their premium counterparts.
The Official Singles Chart is unveiled by Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1 from 4pm to 5.45pm every Friday afternoon. The new chart will begin from Friday 6th July.