I don't know the technicalities yet of the mechanisms they're using to record the streaming data - though one can only hope that they will have hit on a fairly foolproof formula if they are now ready to unleash an 'official' ranking on the back of it. That's not to sound naive; there's always teething troubles with the introduction of a chart that measures a new(ish!) format, especially one as transient as streaming, but the industry have been working on devising a robust methodology for measuring streaming data for some considerable time, and surely issues like the obvious one cited above will have been considered and mitigated accordingly?
I completely agree that as a mainstream method of 'consuming' music, it's high-time such a chart was compiled and published through official industry channels. Indeed, if it survives a prolonged existence as a stand-alone 'alternative' listing of what is popular, I think it will potentially gather as much kudos in industry, artist and consumer circles as the official single tracks sales chart. The interesting part will be whether - I am bound to say when - they decide it's time to fully-incorporate this data into the mainstream singles chart, because not only will it add a whole new dimension to the market of consuming singular songs, it will also bring about a fundamental end of an era, in that for the first time, data around consumption of tracks will be included that did not revolve around a direct cash-nexus transaction specifically for that song. In other words, we'd have a singles ranking that was not all based on sales per 'unit', but also 'usage' per unit.
I'm not entirely certain I agree with that; the download era was difficult to assimilate comfortably, especially given the pace of its development. But although the format of the new virtual product was a universe away from its physical counterpart, it was something that had become legal, monetised, and clearly-measurable at its specific point-of-sale. The singles market is now essentially digital but still essentially counts individual purchases of specific products, one-by-one, whether it be an online download, or in a few isolated cases, a CD on the High Street. But with streaming, a track's 'usage' can be measured but will not be based on a 'sale'. Whether the streaming site is paid-for by subscription or is free owing to ad-support, will not matter. So whether it is fair to add the two different means of consumption together I am not sure, as a listen via a streaming site and a purchase from a digital store isn't quite a 'like-for-like' comparison.
In any case though, by the end of this decade, we are likely to have an integrated chart that will reflect popularity of songs measured by individual sale and airing as part of a streaming deal. In fact, it's likely to be in place far sooner than that.
As to what such integration would do to the shape of the chart though is anyone's guess. I'd have to say that those who don't favour the long-term occupation of the ranks by older and endlessly-enduring tracks (poor old Timmy94 for example!) may look back on today's scenario more fondly, for surely the incorporation of streaming data would only serve to slow the chart down even more?? And then there's the effect it may have on the already-flagging albums sector. The more emphasis there is on consuming single tracks, not only by individual sale but listens on streaming sites, arguably the more the long-playing market may recede, whatever the relative quality of material being made available?