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Music streaming on Spotify, Deezer, Napster to feature in official singles chart

Music streaming on services such as Spotify is to be included in the singles chart from next month after bosses behind the countdown finalised a deal.

Playing songs through on-demand services - which also include the likes of Deezer and Napster - will feature in the Official Singles Chart for the first time on Sunday, July 6.

The Official Charts Company will weight the streaming so that 100 plays amount to one physical sale to draw a difference between shelling out specifically for a track and merely choosing to play it as part of a general service.

So far this year the average weekly figures volume of streaming is 70 times greater than the combined sales of downloads and physical singles.

With some of the services offering free ad-funded accounts, it marks the first time that chart positions could be affected without music fans actually making a purchase.

The move - which has been backed by the music industry - reflects the explosion in streaming which has occurred in recent months with audio streams rising from around 100 million a week in January of last year to 200 million at the start of this year. It has continued to rocket and peaked at 268 million during one week.

On average the number of weekly streams for 2014 is currently at 228 million, while the level of single sales trails significantly at 3.2 million.

Chart-topping hit Get Lucky by Daft Punk was the first to generate a million plays in a week but with the ongoing rise, there have already been nine songs this year which have run into seven figures in a week.

And two songs - Rather Be by Clean Bandit and Waves by Mr Probz - have now managed to achieve 1.5 million streams in a week.

To qualify, songs must be streamed for a minimum of 30 seconds and there will be controls in place to stop users playing songs too many times in order to manipulate the chart.

Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot said: "Audio streaming has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past year - and the time is now right to take this important step.

"The Official Singles Chart is, and always has been, the most trusted and definitive measure of Britain's music tastes. Just as it has evolved through the years to reflect the most popular music in the UK, from 10-inch to 7-inch, vinyl to cassingles, CD singles to downloads, this is the latest stage of that progression."

Brit Award-winning group Bastille lead the field with their song Pompeii which has been streamed more than any other track in the UK, with more than 26 million plays.

Frontman Dan Smith said: "I think for the charts to be fair it has to reflect how people digest music."

Data from other on-demand firms including O2 Tracks, Xbox Music, Music Unlimited and Rara will be used to calculate the charts.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of music industry body BPI, said: "The Official Charts are respected around the world as the authoritative measure of UK musical popularity, so it's vital they continue to reflect the new ways that fans are consuming their favourite music."

The BPI will also include streaming data when it comes to certifying platinum, gold and silver discs for artists.

George Ergatoudis, head of music at BBC Radio 1 which broadcasts the top 40 each Sunday, said: "We are moving from an era of music purchasing to one dominated by music streaming and it is vital that the Official Singles Chart evolves to reflect this.

He said that although young listeners continue to download, they were increasingly using streaming services and he said the decision to count them "future-proofs" the chart.

And to coincide with the streaming inclusion, a new chart for "Official Breakers" will be launched listing the 10 biggest new tracks each week which have seen an increase in sales and streams.

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