In a move to showcase notable changes in the manner people listen to albums and singles, UK's Top 40 countdown will let free listening to contribute towards deciding the chart positions.
Chart bosses asserted that it is indispensable to incorporate free as well as legitimate internet-based music streaming services, such as Spotify and We7, to reckon the top-rated tracks in the country. As of now, the UK's albums and singles charts are determined by the physical sales and paid downloads of tracks and albums.
However, the Official UK Charts firm avowed that it was “bound to” incorporate music streaming and subscription services at some point of time, but it would at least take a year or so to materialise.
Furthermore, it is expected that the chart position would be decided by a mechanism that would give more importance to paid-for tracks than free tracks in deciding the topmost track.
Announcing the move, managing director for Official Charts Company Martin Talbot said, “The key task that we've been getting to grips with over the past 18 months has been ensuring that post-download, and post-permanent ownership of music, we're also counting how consumers are consuming their music in other ways”.
The arrival of various online music streaming services and established websites, such as Last.fm and YouTube, have made some analysts to speculate that consumers' interest in owning music will gradually fade away.
The decision by Official Charts company is symptomatic of the change occurring across the market. The number of people actually buying music CDs is rapidly diminishing as music downloaders (legal and illegal) and streamers increase and the Top 40 has to adapt to reflect this paradigm shift.