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CRITICIZED U.K. CHARTS STAY THE COURSE

The U.K.’s Official Charts Company has renewed its near 24-year deal with the firm that makes sense of the numbers, Kantar Millward Brown, which will now continue doing so until 2025. The announcement comes shortly after the OCC got a kicking in The Sunday Times for the way streams are counted. Is another revamp on the way?

The Official Chart in the U.K. has been a subject of much discussion over the past year, and 2018 began with a fiery editorial from journalist Lisa Verrico critiquing the way streams are counted and questioning its influence.

Instead of changing sales to stream ratios, which is currently 1:150, and adding limits as to how many tracks an artist can have in the Top 100 (three), the OCC should instead be making better use of data, argues Verrico. “Streaming is awash with the stuff, and, used correctly, it could provide accurate stats for a sensible singles chart.”

Streaming numbers racked up on a track thanks to strategic playlist placement should be discounted, with only those coming from standalone plays or searches counted, says Verrico.

“Or count only new, unique listeners to a song each week— one ‘discovery’ per person. Data already does both those jobs.” In addition, a stream saved to a device should be counted as one sale, she posits.

It’s an interesting proposal, which raises questions over whether Kantar’s system is set up for such deep analysis, and if streaming services were willing to provide the in-depth data. In addition, the OCC is a JV between record label trade body BPI and the Entertainment Retailers’ Association, whose members will be divided about quelling the influence of streaming playlists on the charts. Expect this story to continue into 2018 and beyond.

 

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