Last week YouTube Music launched in the UK, letting people on the UK stream music videos in the background and without ads. This week, by sheer coincidence, the singles chart rules are changing to take video streaming views into account - four years after the music people decided to start paying attention to music streaming.
This change will be implemented on Friday, and will only account for official videos and downloads from YouTube, Apple, Tidal, and Spotify in the UK. Naturally user-uploaded videos won't count, because that would be silly and quite difficult to keep tabs on properly. The move has already been approved by record labels and charts broadcaster BBC Radio 1, with the first video-inclusive chart set to be published in 6th July.
Charts Chief Executive Martin Talbot did mention that the inclusion of videos isn't likely to have huge ramifications on the charts themselves, even though roughly 40 per cent of music streamed in the UK comes through YouTube. Test runs showed that even the most popular YouTube videos only gained a small upgrade in their chart rankings, with Childish Gambino's viral hit This is America only gaining an extra three or four places during test runs.
The video rule also comes with a change differentiating between ad-funded and premium streaming content. Talbot claims that while some people were against having ad-funded music count towards the top 40, as is the case in France, Italy, and Spain, the Charts Company decided that was a step too far. The logic being that not everyone has a credit card or the fund to pay for a premium subscription, and listen to legitimate ad-funded alternatives instead. The formula is being tweaked, however, giving greater weight to streaming content that's been paid for directly.
Currently streaming counts every 150 streams as a 'sale', but by Friday that will be changing. Premium content will count as a sale if it's streaming 100 times, while ad-funded music will increase to 600 times. It still won't be possible to spam your favourite artist to number one, since the charts doesn't count more than 10 streams of a single song within a 24 hour period. [BBC News]