PAID streaming services will have more weight than free streaming options under new rules being introduced to the ARIA charts this week.
It means punters who pay for their music will have more impact on how high singles and albums register on the ARIA charts. The changes will be seen in all the sales charts across all genres released this Saturday.
“It’s saying not all streams are the same,” ARIA CEO Dan Rosen said.
“The number one thing for us is that the artist is getting paid, so this is a recognition that a paid stream is worth more than an ad-supported stream for the ARIA chart.”
Spotify is one of the last major streaming services who still offer a free subscription model, where listeners hear ads between songs, as well as a paid ad-free option.
Paid streaming services including Spotify, Apple, Deezer, Google Play, Amazon and YouTube will now see all streams of singles and albums given more weight by ARIA.
However ARIA will not reveal the difference they’re assigning to a paid and a free stream.
In May last year ARIA included streaming figures to calculate the album chart, after already using on the singles chart.
While they have never announced the official figure, it is believed around 175 streams of a song count as one sale. Rosen said they are now using a different kind of data to calculate the latest weighting between paid and free streams.
“Streaming is still an evolving medium. You’re trying to approximate downloads and streams and physical sales. It’s not a perfect science, so you have to continually monitor it and make sure you’re getting the formula right to make it work.”
ARIA have been running a test chart for months after following the lead of the US and UK who gave paid streams more weight than free ones.
“Things are changing so fast we want to make sure we’re not jumping at shadows,” Rosen said.
“The test chart has shown there’s not a huge difference. The No. 1 song seems to be the same across paid and free streaming. The album chart, because physical and downloads are still a greater component there, you might be some difference but probably not as much difference as you’ll see on the singles chart.
“But the ARIA chart is the one thing that people will look back on in 10, 20, 30 years time so you want to make sure you’re getting it right.”
2018 has seen Australian acts finally break the stranglehold international artists — including streaming kings Drake and Ed Sheeran — have held on the streaming-driven singles chart.
5 Seconds of Summer’s Youngblood spent eight weeks at No. 1, while Dean Lewis’ Be Alright was No. 1 for five weeks.
Prior to 5SOS, the last Australian act to score a No. 1 single were The Veronicas in 2016 with In My Blood.
While streaming has seen singles stay at No. 1 longer (Drake has spent 17 weeks at No. 1 in Australia this year already, with three different singles), the album chart still has a high turnover of new chart toppers.
Ten Australian acts have scored No. 1 albums already this year — Kylie Minogue, Vance Joy, Gurrumul, Parkway Drive, Sheppard, 5 Seconds of Summer, Amy Shark, The Amity Affliction, John Butler Trio and Paul Kelly.
The ARIA charts will also introduce a new logo this weekend.