For some time now the official UK singles chart has included streaming plays as it calculates which Simon Cowell act will be the next to reach number one. Now, the official album chart will also take steaming into account.
With singles, 100 plays counted as the equivalent of one download. For albums, that model doesn't work quite as well, because one big hit single could boost a fairly mediocre album to heights it doesn't deserve - heaven forbid the chart wasn't accurate.
To counter this, the two most popular singles, as determined by streams, will be weighted so as to not unbalance the album's chart position.
The US has apparently gone down the route of simply adding all streams to an album's total. That means that anyone with a monster single that gets lots of streams, while the rest of the album goes unplayed, will see a rise in their album position.
That might be good for some acts who could game the system by simply having one crowd-pleaser on their album, and a load of filler as the rest.
Numbers too big to ignore
The move to factor-in streams in album sales is, some would argue, long overdue. The Guardian reports that at the start of this year there are some 360m streams per week.
If the album chart didn't evolve to take that into account we'd see a very odd looking chart with music that appeals to less tech-savvy audiences getting the top spot. That would probably rule out the music that young people listen to.
Will any of this persuade Taylor Swift to get back on Spotify? Unlikely as she's at the top of the US chart again this week, and she has achieved the only platinum album since 2013 - Frozen sold more than 3 million copies, but it's a soundtrack so it doesn't count.
Even if Swift doesn't head back into the world of streaming, this change to the album chart is likely to make other artists think very carefully about removing their music from streaming services.
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