The growing influence of streaming music sites is being recognized in the U.K., as the Official Charts Company confirmed today it will count audio streaming services in its tally of top singles.
The company will include consideration of audio streams beginning in July 2014, with 100 streams to count as the equivalent of one single purchased via download or as a physical copy.
"Audio streaming has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past year and the time is now right to take this important step," Official Charts Company CEO Martin Talbot said in a statement.
He noted that over the years the firm has changed to reflect the different ways consumers listen to music -- from "vinyl to cassingles, CD singles to downloads."
"We have been looking at this possibility for some time and now feel comfortable that our methodology is correct."
On-demand streams from services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster, O2 Tracks, Xbox Music, Sony's Music Unlimited and Omnifone (members of the Entertainment Retailers Association) will be considered for the more than 60-year-old Top 40 singles chart.
According to the company, weekly audio streams selected by U.K. music fans grew from 100 million a week in Jan. 2013 to 200 million a week in Jan. 2014. The figure currently sits at 260 million streams a week.
The way music charts are compiled differ from country to country. Billboard's Canadian Hot 100 singles chart (Canada's most popular songs across all genres) considers radio airplay info gathered by Nielsen BDS and sales data from Nielsen SoundScan.
In the U.S., the Billboard Hot 100 has counted streaming and YouTube success in its formula (along with sales, radio plays and other factors) since 2012. Meanwhile, in Sweden, audio streams have counted towards the nation's singles chart since 2010.