It was recently announced that music streamed online will count toward the charts for the first time. The first chart to include streams will be unveiled this Sunday July 6th. The move is seen as positive by the music industry because it represents the progression of consumer habits.
How will it work?
Video services such as Youtube won’t be included, as the intention behind video streaming is deemed different to that of audio streaming.
Only 10 streams per user per day will be counted. This is to prevent individuals from unduly influencing the charts.
A track will only be deemed “listened to” and count towards the charts after 30 seconds of play.
100 streams will have the same weight as 1 purchase (digital or physical).
We took a look back at our data to see how Plusnet customers use Spotify and naturally, we started wondering whether Plusnet customers could influence the chart if they banded together. Campaigns to influence the charts aren’t uncommon – the effort to get Rage Against The Machine as Christmas number 1 in 2009 was all over the news, and resulted in the band playing a free gig at Wembley to thank their fans. More recently, fans of Rik Mayall tried to get his song ‘Noble England’ to number 1 (it entered the top 10!). The graph below shows the daily Gigabyte usage attributed to Spotify for each day between October 1st 2013 and June 29th 2014. You should be able to interact with the graph and drill down into the data. In this period, a total of 909016 Gigabytes (0.87 Petabytes (PB)) have been streamed by Plusnet customers. That may sound like a lot, but compare it to some other services:
In 2009 Google processed around 24 PB of data per day
World of Warcraft takes around 1.3 PB of storage. Steam delivers around 50 PB per week.
The human brain has an estimated capacity of 2.5 PB
So can Plusnet customers influence the charts? To calculate this we had to find out three things: the length of the average number 1 song, Spotify’s average bandwidth, and the amount of data used by Plusnet customers using Spotify. These are back-of-a-napkin calculations, and are intended mainly as food for thought!
Waxy.org has information and analysis on all chart songs since 1950. The average length of songs per decade was calculated and, from this, we found the average number 1 song to be 3 minutes and 14 seconds long.
Spotify streams at 3 bitrates depending on the user’s subscription. The default is 160kbps, which is the figure we used.
0.87 Petabytes, the total amount of data used by Plusnet customers, works out as around 5,957,325,000 seconds of streaming at 160kbps. Dividing this by 194 seconds (the length of the average number 1) gives us 30,707,861 plays for that track.
If we divide 30,707,861 by 39 (the amount of weeks represented by our data) we get 787,381 streams per week, which counts as 7,874 chart submissions under the rules (because 100 streams counts as one vote).
The resulting estimated 7,874 votes wouldn’t make much of a dent on the charts in weeks where the number 1 single sells upwards of 750,000 units, but some singles (such as Call on Me) hit number 1 with sales of only 23,000. The song that’s expected to take the number 1 spot this week has 67,000 already. Essentially, with the vast difference week-to-week in figures it’s hard to say for sure what impact we would be able to have. It seems like the only way to find out is to try! Do you think including streams in the charts is a good idea? Will it have any effect on your listening habits? And, most importantly, which song do you think we should try to get to number 1?