Spotify and other streaming services to be included in UK singles chart

The Official Charts Company has announced that it will include streaming figures in the UK weekly singles chart starting from July.

Streaming, through services such as Spotify and Deezer, has doubled in popularity over the last year and now averages 260 million streams a week in the UK.

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Martin Talbot from the Official Charts Company commented on the growth of streaming in an interview with the BBC.

"So far this year we've seen nine tracks which have been streamed more than one million times in a week. Last year there were only two tracks that had reached that kind of level," said Mr Talbot.

The first chart to include streaming figures will air on 6 July, with 100 streams of a song equating to one single purchased.

Other countries have already begun incorporating streams into their charts, including Germany, Sweden and the US, as the chart looks to remain relevant in the face of major changes to the music industry. The change represents the biggest shift in emphasis for the UK charts since its inception, but some argue that it will still not be wholly relevant as it continues to ignore billions of video streams on YouTube and similar websites.

It also seems that the latest development is likely to have little bearing on who reaches the top of the charts.

By looking at data over the last 18 months, the Official Charts Company found that the inclusion of streaming services only changed the number one single once, and the top five also remained mostly the same.

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It is most likely to benefit bands that feature lower down the charts. Mercury Prize winner, Alt-J, for example, is the 14th most-streamed act in the UK, but has only reached number 75 in the single charts.

Mr Talbot, however, described the change as significant, not just for the UK chart, but for the history of music as well.

"It is a coming of age for streaming services, an indication that the industry accepts and understands streaming is here to stay," he said.