Streaming "bound to" count towards Top 40

Music streaming sites such as Spotify and Napster are "bound to" be taken into account in the Top 40 chart in the future, say bosses, but it is unlikely to happen in the next year

Music streaming sites such as Spotify could be incorporated into the official top 40 music sales chart, say organisers.

The Official UK Charts Company, which oversees the compilation of the weekly table, says that it is "bound to" include figures from such services in the future, although it is unlikely to happen in the next year.

It has been suggested that individual plays of tracks would count for less than an outright sale, which is likely to be heard several times.

Users of Spotify can listen to tracks for free, accompanied by advertising, or pay £9.99 per month to hear music free of adverts. Services like We7 and Napster offer similar packages.

"The key task that we've been getting to grips with over the past 18 months has been ensuring that post-download, and post-permanent ownership of music, we're also counting how consumers are consuming their music in other ways," said Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot, speaking to the BBC.

"The charts have always been there as a popularity poll, as a means of identifying what are the hottest records of the moment," he added. "That's been relatively simple when people have bought stuff to keep forever. But that's going to become increasingly more complicated."

The move would not be the first time that digital music would have changed the way charts are calculated. In 2005 digital downloads were counted for the first time.

Since then, digital downloads have bolstered the flagging singles sales market. In the five years from 2003 to 2008 singles sales have risen almost 400%.

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