Streamed music chart has short long tail, more Rihanna than Rita

In the move from music ownership to music access, how might popularity evolve?

Anyone expecting to see a radical change in listening habits may be disappointed.

The first ever weekly top 100 chart of streamed plays, released by the UK’s Official Charts Company on Monday, is broadly similar to the chart of downloads purchases and, therefore, the overall singles chart.

The big news is, the UK’s current number-one single, by Rita Ora featuring Tinie Tempah, is merely #44 in the streaming chart. Instead, top spot goes to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe, number four in the downloads counterpart.

But, despite only two tracks occupying the same position in both charts’ top 40, streaming appears to give more of a boost to current hits than to older songs.

  • Seventeen hit songs present in the downloads top 40 place even higher in the streaming chart, suggesting some popular current songs spin even more online.
  • Nine positions in the streaming top 40 are occupied by songs which don’t figure in the equivalent downloads chart at all. That means ongoing plays for Ed Sheeran (x3), Lana Del Rey (x3), Coldplay’s Paradise, Rihanna, Script and Usher tracks which are now selling less.
  • Tulisa is amongst the eight artists to be less popular in streaming’s top 40 than via downloads – in streaming, she is 14 places below her #2 downloads chart spot.

The chart is compiled using data from both free and ad-funded services including Spotify, We7, Napster, Deezer, Zune and ChartsNow.

“It shows the true longevity of a track in the life of a music fan beyond a track purchase,” an Official Charts Company spokesperson told paidContent, discussing Carly Rae Jepsen’s streaming chart-topper, which has falling in the counterpart downloads chart after spending four weeks at the top.

“It will be interesting to track what happens to the Rita track over the coming weeks as different forces come in to play. Will the added exposure that Rita will get in the media off the back of her number one single, and additional TV and radio airplay, for example, prompt people to look this track up on Spotify, Deezer etc?”

The spokesperson also revealed: “This chart is purely audio streaming, we are in advanced talks with video streaming services to create a separate standalone video streaming chart.” YouTube is the most-consumed music service.