In 2014, for the first time, streaming is to be included in the UK singles chart. So, for the first time since charts started over 50 years ago, the addition of streaming will take into account consumption based not on purchase but on hearing something, without actually owning it. Some charts, notably in the US take account of airplay as well as sales, something the UK has always resisted. With streaming, the consumer chooses what to listen to, in the same way as with physical purchase, whereas with airplay, the radio station chooses the music. What the UK chart compilers must ensure is the integrity of the data, to ensure that music users can trust the output.
At present, Spotify dominates the streaming world. Sweden, Spotify’s home, has included streaming data in its charts for the past year. Moving forward, if the example of Sweden is followed, Streaming will have a more important financial role. In 2012, Streaming accounted for approximately 60% of income compared to 10% in the UK. Spotify, and other streaming services, have a big role to play in music’s future.