Aug 15th 2014

Music streaming, it’s become official

I’m a massive music fan. I won’t divulge my full music tastes as I don’t want to get laughed out of the Babel office, but I’m always reading up on the latest news and what is happening in the industry. So, it seems only right that I discuss the biggest change to happen in the UK music industry this year; streaming data now being included in the Official UK Singles Chart.

Of course, for many of us, streaming is nothing new. I know I’ve been using streaming services for quite a few years now, as have my Babel colleagues. But counting streaming data into final chart rankings shows that the industry is finally waking up to just how much it has entered our everyday lives. It’s recognition that the music industry has changed and there is a need to make the singles chart a fairer representation of what the nation is actually listening to.

Ofcom released the results of a survey this week looking into the popularity of music streaming services. No surprise, it found that 16-24 year olds in the UK prefer streaming their music to listening to it over the radio. Even ten years ago, that might have been unthinkable.

Since the Internet has completely transformed the way we listen to music, many have argued that the singles chart is not as important as it once was and having a number one is no longer a big deal.

Part of me feels that’s hard to argue with. For instance, in only 33 weeks so far this year, there have been 26 different number ones. It’s as if one week comes around and the next top song jumps through the door, just as the other one has jumped out. Hopefully this new change will help to keep the UK charts fresh, but most of all it’s giving an important nod to the popularity of streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer.

In my opinion, it’s probably a change that should have been made before now. In the US, the Billboard Hot 100 chart has incorporated streaming data since 2007! Perhaps it’s actually Europe that’s lagging behind. Germany only started doing this at the beginning of the year, and Sweden with its album chart towards the end of last year – although I suppose it’s better late than never, as they say.

By and large, it’s irrelevant when the change came in; the main point is that the change has taken place. In the UK at least, it feels that streaming has well and truly been endorsed by the industry. So, long live streaming! Oh and if you want to know what the nation’s most streamed songs are then look no further below, I own one of these but I won’t tell you which one. Like I said, if I revealed my true music tastes I might never be able to walk through the office door again!

  1. Pompeii, Bastille (26.6m streams)
  2. Get Lucky, Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell Williams (24.5m streams)
  3. Let Her Go by Passenger, Passenger (21.7m streams)
  4. Wake Me Up, Avicii (21.4m streams)
  5. Happy, Pharrell Williams (20.7m streams)

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