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  • Reforming the UK Charts?

    Do the UK charts need to be reformed?

    Streaming; they are plays not sales. Why convert a particular number to "sales equivalents". Would it be better and just count streaming numbers, like in Sweden?

    Sales. Yes, they are low these days. I understand you can't have them as the Official Chart. But why not just use real sales for certificatiions? Or change the streams to sales ratio?

    Airplay. Should the UK have an airplay component for its charts? Listening to streams in other people's playlists counts for the charts. Why not airplay?

    Revenue based. The German charts are like this. Physical sales count much more than downloads and downloads much more than streams. Box Office receipts are normal in the film industry.

    Finally, there is a lot of double counting with streams - counting as they do for singles, their parent album and nominated compilation/other.

    What do people think? Shouldn't be move away from the notion that streaming can be converted into a "sales" figure? I think so

  • #2
    The UK singles chart remains a populist chart - 20 years ago if a song was liked enough to be bought then it charted well. There’s no difference now - if a song is streamed enough it will chart well.

    But the charts are broken in that they are now irrelevant. It seems kids don’t follow the charts anymore and will just look to new release playlists for new music. You could argue that’s how it’s always been, what with radio playlists and music video channel playlists, but something fundamental seems to have changed with streaming.

    Plus you only seem to become a star if your album sells now - I don’t even think having a #1 single even make you famous nowadays.

    It’s been tough on the OCC because they had no choice but to include streaming, but they lost all credibility when Ed Sheeran took over the whole of the top 10 singles chart with album tracks.

    I know they’ve tweaked the rules since then, but that whole saga completely devalued the idea of a ‘single’ and you can see that reflected in the release strategy of the labels now - how many discussions have we had on this forum alone trying to work out if a song was a single or not?
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    • #3
      They seem to tweak the the charts in favour of music that young people are interested in, despite that fact that young people have little interest in the charts. If you look at airplay charts then music played by Radio 2 is always higher because they have a higher audience, probably because adults chose to listen to the radio over streaming. It's 2 different ways of consuming music, but essentially the same thing. I don't know why the OCC are so keen on pandering to young people.
      1 Inna |2 Camila Cabello|3 Wizkid |4 Coldplay |5 Kevin McKay

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      • #4
        I agree with the comments above. It could be there are four singles charts:

        Main Singles Chart (Radio + streaming airplay) - no restrictions or clever formulas.
        Current Main Singles Chart (Radio + streaming airplay) - only singles released in last 2 years.
        Radio Airplay Chart
        Streaming Airplay Chart

        For albums there could be a physical chart only.



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        • #5
          BPI should change their award system by introducing certificates for streams only (with appropriate levels not involving ratios).

          Keep present certificates for sales of vinyl, cassette, CD and downloads.

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          • #6
            I agree with comments that the OCC is focussed on young people. Why have streaming but not Airplay?
            I agree also younger people are not interested in "the charts" - and probably don't have such a musical diverse taste.


            Streaming is here to stay and charts must reflect that. But why this pretence.they are sales? Forget this "chart sales" malarky. They need to, in my opiniion, combine streams, sales and airplay. Talk more of "chart points" and stop pretending 100 streans of a premium service is 1 sale. etc.

            By all means have separate Sales Charts for Singles. The Album Chart could be just sales of whole albums. Or maybe revenue based that includes sales and streaming.



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            • #7
              Originally posted by brian05 View Post
              BPI should change their award system by introducing certificates for streams only (with appropriate levels not involving ratios).

              Keep present certificates for sales of vinyl, cassette, CD and downloads.
              Yes. Certifications for real sales only.

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              • #8
                Although it is said that streaming is no different to airplay, there is an element of choice to streaming unlike radio. In reality of course many people will just play the latest Hot Hits playlist on Spotify but the ability to choose the track that someone wants to hear is still there.

                In the medium term it's likely that the chart simply will become similar to Sweden where actual streaming numbers are counted. Paid-for sales have dwindled so much that at some point they will dwindle to almost nothing. The attempts to match streams to paid for sales was something that was done simply to integrate streams into a chart that was largely still an actual sales chart. Perhaps the next generation of music executives will simply put to bed the idea that everything has to be converted into a sales equivalent.

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                • #9
                  I wonder how millions of streams compares against millions of radio listeners and what a like for like ratio would look like from those.
                  1 Inna |2 Camila Cabello|3 Wizkid |4 Coldplay |5 Kevin McKay

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SholasBoy View Post
                    I wonder how millions of streams compares against millions of radio listeners and what a like for like ratio would look like from those.
                    Radio airplay for the top hits is roughly 10-15 times the amount for streaming, although this may of course change in the future.

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                    • #11
                      I don't think radio play should count for the charts. I hate the way it has such an influence on the US charts. Radio should be a promotional tool.
                      Zero tolerance for : bigotry, racism, wilful ignorance.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nameless View Post

                        Yes. Certifications for real sales only.
                        Then there would be very few albums or singles being certified!
                        Zero tolerance for : bigotry, racism, wilful ignorance.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by InFamous View Post
                          I don't think radio play should count for the charts. I hate the way it has such an influence on the US charts. Radio should be a promotional tool.
                          But in which case, shouldn't tracks on popular Spotify playlists be removed too? As they are now constantly played on loop at cafes, bars, shops etc.
                          1 Inna |2 Camila Cabello|3 Wizkid |4 Coldplay |5 Kevin McKay

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SholasBoy View Post

                            But in which case, shouldn't tracks on popular Spotify playlists be removed too? As they are now constantly played on loop at cafes, bars, shops etc.
                            Well I mean the only way they can do that would be to remove the playlists altogether. However they do filter the streams and only ten plays in a 24 hour period counts from one account.
                            Zero tolerance for : bigotry, racism, wilful ignorance.
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                            • #15
                              I do think they should reform the charts. It should be on the basis of what the public pay for a record to either listen or own. At the moment you can listen to a record a 1000 times and it will no effect on the chart. But if you download a 59p track that does. What you are counting is the money you pay. So say one stream costs 0.001p that's what you count towards the chart. And 59p for a download or 99p for a download. 3,99 for a single say. Plus end that stupid ACR thing. Also let them have free run on the tracks from an album. If streaming (even with the sales change does still cause a problem, keep the streams at limited, but allow the paid for downloads to chart from the albums. These might flood the charts for a week or two, but buyers can't keep that up.
                              Lastly they need to go back to Sunday to Saturday sales week. Rather than the present week. So the top 40 can be listened to on Sunday again. It doesn't matter if records have only a few days sales and nobody these days is going to change the release date to Sunday or Monday just to get a full week of sales. The days of boyband fans targeting the charts to get to the top are gone!
                              Based on a "money chart" rather than a "copy" chart, I don't see how airplay could be incorporated into the chart.
                              Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

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                              • #16
                                Airplay has no place in the charts as it is not dictated by the listener but the radio/record company. By the same token, only listener-generated playlist streams should be included. In the singles chart, only officially released singles should count, then there is no need for a 3-track rule. ACR should be got rid of as it is 'faking' the chart. Otherwise you need to rename it the song chart.....

                                While sales are low they are still relevant (personally I think they are more relevant, but then I'm an 'old fuddy duddy'). For albums, I don't think streams should count unless they comprise the majority of an album. Of course there should also be a modifier so that the number of tracks on an album does not penalize an artist - maybe the first 10 tracks ranked according to streams (with a modifier for singles)?

                                As to the value of streams, a revenue-based option is probably best. While we enjoy the charts, the reason behind them is for the industry to know what is making money so this would probably be the most appealing option to them.
                                Last edited by braindeadpj; Sun September 12, 2021, 19:49.

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                                • #17
                                  To be honest, I do think we are heading towards an eventual streaming only charts. Album sales continue to die a slow death and single purchases are all but done.

                                  I’ve told this story before, but I was watching music channels with a couple of teenagers a while back and said ‘I bought this single’ and, quite legitimately, was asked ‘What’s a single?’.

                                  For the causal teenage listener, we’re basically at the point where they’ve only grown up in a streaming world and never had to buy a download, never mind a physical single. They will never understand the torture of trying to make your pocket money stretch and buy as much new music as possible.

                                  I think the OCC is going to have no choice but to eventually produce a chart like Spotify’s, simply act as a body that collects all the data from every service. Issue certifications based on streams, not sales, and remove all restrictions - thus making it a songs chart and if Drake or Ed take up 20 slots, so be it I guess.

                                  Clearly we remain in a transitional period as steaming isn’t the sole use of music listening, but I suspect it soon will be (outside the novelty factor of buying things like vinyl).

                                  I know the charts will probably grow stale, but I’d rather have a stale chart that reflected 100% what people were actually listening to, rather than manipulating things to keep the chart relevant. There is relevance I guess in being authentic.
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                                  • #18
                                    I think they should only count paid streams as these are what contribute to the revenue of the new music industry as we have it after all.

                                    Also, music streaming services should frequently refresh playlists if consumers are going to simply play them in the order they appear. What will happen to the poor 50th song on the playlist that isn't picking up many streams due to its placement? They have a lot of power and can make or break new songs in a potentially unfair way.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ludichris View Post
                                      I think they should only count paid streams as these are what contribute to the revenue of the new music industry as we have it after all.

                                      Also, music streaming services should frequently refresh playlists if consumers are going to simply play them in the order they appear. What will happen to the poor 50th song on the playlist that isn't picking up many streams due to its placement? They have a lot of power and can make or break new songs in a potentially unfair way.
                                      Yep, I seen Drake constantly at the top of their new music Friday playlists, but Jane McDonald right at the bottom, and I don't remember Jane making the top 10 with streams of her songs
                                      1 Inna |2 Camila Cabello|3 Wizkid |4 Coldplay |5 Kevin McKay

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by menime123 View Post
                                        To be honest, I do think we are heading towards an eventual streaming only charts. Album sales continue to die a slow death and single purchases are all but done.
                                        The problem with most people is they view the future in a narrow plane. For example take a look at the film Metropolis. Aircraft buzzing around cities like flies. That how people are taught about the past, so they think the same for the future. Back in the 1960's railways were obsolete, but now they are spreading all over the place again. It's the same when you look at the music. We see streaming as the end to downloads and records. But all sorts of things not connected to the music industry can change what happens to the way music is consumed. I see streaming as obsolete, just waiting to be replaced. By what? VIRTUAL REALITY.
                                        Just over a year ago as a Christmas present we bought my nephew one of those VR headsets. He brought it up to demonstrate and I was blown away by the level of detail that could be achieved. I reckon you could sit in a room where Ed Sheeran or anyone else you care to imagine, and watch him sing or play from any position you wanted to see them in. Listening to music being performed like that, not only does away with streaming, but YouTube too. All Ed needs to do is play music in a green room and the rest can be created digitally. Indeed anything you see on movies done with technology - though not all is, can be created with the VR tech. The artist can charge as much or as little they want for people to see them.
                                        That's just one aspect.
                                        The same nephew came to see me the other day and said Ed had released new material on cassette. He even had to purchase a cassette to play it. But in most people view of the future the cassette would never make a comeback. Why would it? Yet people are buying cassettes again and the old albums, made of plastic!

                                        Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

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                                        • #21
                                          As an afterthought as the OCC is a commercial practice if the charts become less relevant with nobody looking at them, then the OCC will start to loose money. Plus if the BBC decide that funding the charts is a waste of money, or the BBC gets the chop itself, that would cause problems for the company. I doubt other media enterprises will pay for funding something that nobody gives a toss about!
                                          I can see that some of the individual companies that produce charts might continue with them. Since they are in-house and not costing a lot, they probably would produce them anyway for marketing or sales reasons, so showing them off to the public would be a bonus. But it would be very strange for commercial companies to work with competitors to produce a combined chart. Even when the idea of a national chart funded to make it the best chart was mooted in 1968/9, nearly all the commercial bodies turned their nose up at playing a part. And people were interested in the charts back then.
                                          Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

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                                          • #22
                                            VR is a visual medium so has no implications for an audio experience in my opinion, though I find VR fascinating in terms of home viewing of concerts in the future.

                                            Cassettes and vinyl might have made a comeback but purely as a collectors item and a way of getting more sales out of the same people that probably would have bought a physical copy anyway. I don’t think a collectors market is going anywhere soon, but rather than converting streams to sales I do think it will end up where sales are converted into streams - because the chart will have no option but to become streaming eventually.

                                            Do we know how much the BBC pays for the OCC? Even though I think the charts are irrelevant I do think it’s a vital public service and I’m more than happy with my licence fee contributing towards it.

                                            Also, the BBC isn’t going anywhere.
                                            Bleep Bloop Blop

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                                            • #23
                                              Since paid for sales is almost nothing would it not be better if they converted those into equivalent streams and do away with sales altogether?
                                              the BBC have lost alot of their power over the charts, back in the physical era with TOTP and Radio 1 they could influence what was a big hit alot more easily.
                                              Last edited by fiesta; Mon September 13, 2021, 11:38.

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                                              • #24
                                                Originally posted by menime123 View Post
                                                VR is a visual medium so has no implications for an audio experience in my opinion, though I find VR fascinating in terms of home viewing of concerts in the future.

                                                Cassettes and vinyl might have made a comeback but purely as a collectors item and a way of getting more sales out of the same people that probably would have bought a physical copy anyway. I don’t think a collectors market is going anywhere soon, but rather than converting streams to sales I do think it will end up where sales are converted into streams - because the chart will have no option but to become streaming eventually.

                                                Do we know how much the BBC pays for the OCC? Even though I think the charts are irrelevant I do think it’s a vital public service and I’m more than happy with my licence fee contributing towards it.

                                                Also, the BBC isn’t going anywhere.
                                                If streaming will take over from paid for sales, then streaming will certainly take over all TV shows.

                                                The cost of the charts has always been expensive and most of the funding comes from the BBC.
                                                The licence fee will not last that much longer. People are moving away from TV channels and streaming doesn't need a channel, the debates of the effectiveness of the BBC in delivering the system it was set up for are raging still.
                                                I think your last line is widely optimistic.
                                                Currently the BBC is failing to deliver any programs that can't be delivered by other forms, even BBC Four is showing old material that is shown on channels with adverts in them.

                                                VR can incorporate Dolby Atmos sound using a home computer. I watched a bit of Titanic in 3D in a virtual cinema with fake people all around me - while sat on my sofa at home!
                                                Education for anyone aged 12 to 16 has made a mess of the world!

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                                                • #25
                                                  Originally posted by Graham76man View Post

                                                  If streaming will take over from paid for sales, then streaming will certainly take over all TV shows.

                                                  The cost of the charts has always been expensive and most of the funding comes from the BBC.
                                                  The licence fee will not last that much longer. People are moving away from TV channels and streaming doesn't need a channel, the debates of the effectiveness of the BBC in delivering the system it was set up for are raging still.
                                                  I think your last line is widely optimistic.
                                                  Currently the BBC is failing to deliver any programs that can't be delivered by other forms, even BBC Four is showing old material that is shown on channels with adverts in them.

                                                  VR can incorporate Dolby Atmos sound using a home computer. I watched a bit of Titanic in 3D in a virtual cinema with fake people all around me - while sat on my sofa at home!
                                                  VR is not going to happen as a music format. It’s a visual medium, not audio, and I too saw Titanic in 3D, but without putting a box over my head and with real people.

                                                  The BBC is providing a huge service, including a leading streaming platform. Their current prime time Sunday drama debuted with over 10 million viewers (across seven days) which is about as good as it gets for any TV show nowadays. But this isn’t the thread for any of this.

                                                  Streaming is the future though and the charts will look very different in a few years when we have multiple generations using it as the only method of music consumption they have ever known.

                                                  Bleep Bloop Blop

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