Streaming to be included in UK singles chart

Daft Punk Daft Punk's Get Lucky was the most streamed track last year in the UK

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The head of music at Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra has said streaming will soon be included in the top 40 singles chart.

Speaking at a Radio Academy event in London, George Ergatoudis said play counts from services like Spotify and YouTube could be included as soon as this summer.

While countries such as the US and Germany already count music streams, the UK chart is based on sales alone.

The Official Charts Company says there is no firm date set for the change.

Chief executive Martin Talbot told the BBC the company was still working out the "how" and "when" behind the plans.

In the UK, music streaming increased by 33.7% in 2013 and now accounts for nearly 10% of revenues from recorded music. In the last year 7.4 billion songs were streamed via premium or ad-funded music services.

Daft Punk's Get Lucky was the most streamed track of 2013 in the UK, ahead of Bastille's Pompeii and Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines.

Last year was also a fifth successive record year for British singles sales, up 6% to 188.6m with the vast majority - 99.6% - accounted for by digital downloads.

Speaking in Music Week last week, Mr Talbot said: "We are beginning to look at this, as every market is - but we have a lot of due diligence to do before making what would be a significant jump in the UK."

Spotify Germany added streaming data to its official singles chart last month

He cited issues including what kind of streams should be counted and the possible impact on new and independent artists.

The company will also have to decide how many "plays" of a YouTube video or Spotify track would count as the equivalent of one sale.

There will also be questions about how long a user has to listen to a track before it is counted - some statisticians equate a 30-second stream to one play, others prefer only to count users who stream an entire song.

Mr Talbot's statement to Music Week was in response Universal Music UK boss, David Joseph, who told the magazine that the UK charts risk becoming irrelevant if they don't begin including streaming soon.

The Official Charts Company has previously explained that the UK chart methodology and market are both very different to America, where the Hot 100 takes into account radio airplay.

The company launched a separate Official Streaming Chart in 2012.

Mr Ergatoudis said merging that data into the Top 40 would be one of the biggest transitional changes in the Official Chart's history.

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