The Official Charts Company has announced streams will be included alongside sales from March 1.

The move isn’t without precedent – last July plays from streaming services merged with sales to be included in the UK singles chart, while Sweden and America have included the data in their album charts since 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Data will be counted from February 23, with the first official chart to include streaming data published on March 1. Services whose data will be included are Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Google Play, O2 Tracks, Rara, Rdio and Xbox Music.

In case you’re wondering how exactly it’s going to work, the Official Charts Company has said it will be using its own formula, which takes the 12 most streamed tracks from the standard version of the album, and down-weights the top two songs in line with the average of the rest, which should ensure a popular single doesn’t artificially inflate the popularity of an album. The total of these streams is divided by 1000 and added to the physical and digital sales of the album – the 1,000 ratio is apparently used to reflect the difference in value between a track stream and the price paid for an album.

In an official statement, Official Charts Company chairman Korda Marshall said: “The Official Charts are a UK institution, followed both by music fans and the industry, so we do not make changes to them lightly. But with more and more people listening to albums via streaming services, it is right that we are now going to reflect streaming in the Official Albums Chart.

Speaking to the BBC, Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot said that it “won’t make a significant impact initially,” with streams only likely to account for “an uplift of about 10% in the Top 40”.

If you’re optimistic that the changes might bring in a new era of enlightenment for the UK album charts, don’t get too excited. The Official Charts Company recently published a chart of the top 40 albums to be streamed last year, and it’s largely filled with much of the same Radio 2-friendly pop as the current charts, with recent Grammy winner Sam Smith (pictured above) sitting comfortably at number two.



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