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Official Albums Chart to incorporate audio streams next month

 
By on Friday, 13th February 2015 at 11:00 am
 

Following on from an announcement last summer regarding Official UK Singles Chart, as of March 2015 the Official Albums Chart in the UK will incorporate audio streams, the Official Charts Company has announced. The change will come into effect during BRIT Awards week (beginning Monday, the 23rd of February), with the first chart to incorporate audio streams being published on Sunday, the 1st of March 2015.

So, how will it work? The Official Charts Company will collect streaming data from Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Google Play, O2 Tracks, Rara, Rdio and Xbox Music, though only the 12 most streamed tracks from the standard version of the album will be taken into account. The top two songs from the album will be down-weighted in line with the average of the rest. The reason for this is to ensure that any albums featuring up to two runaway hit singles do not skew the performance of the parent album in the Official Albums Chart. The total of these streams will be divided by 1,000 and added to the physical and digital sales of the album. The 1,000 ratio is used to reflect the broad difference in value between a track stream and the price paid for an album.

Speaking about the announcement, Official Charts Company Chairman Korda Marshall said: “The Official Charts are a UK institution, followed both by music fans and the industry, so we do not make changes to them lightly. But with more and more people listening to albums via streaming services, it is right that we are now going to reflect streaming in the Official Albums Chart. It is particularly appropriate that this change will take place from BRITs week, when we will be celebrating some of today’s biggest album artists, like Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, alt-J and Royal Blood (pictured at top), among many others.”

Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot added: “The Official Charts Company’s mission is to compile the most accurate, reliable and up-to-date charts around, and in 2015 that means reflecting the popularity of streaming, alongside downloads, vinyl and – still the most popular album format – the CD. Initial indications are that the impact on actual chart positions will be modest to begin with, but we expect this to grow as streaming becomes increasingly popular.”

According to the Official Charts Company, Ed Sheeran’s ‘X’ was the most streamed album of 2014, having generated more than 200 million track streams, Sam Smith’s ‘In The Lonely Hour’ was streamed over 140 million times and George Ezra’s ‘Wanted on Voyage’ notched up 70 million streams.

 

Ed Sheeran named as most streamed artist of 2014

 
By on Friday, 5th December 2014 at 5:30 pm
 

Ed Sheeran has been named as the most streamed artist worldwide in 2014, with his album ‘X’ being streamed over 430 million times since it was released in June.

Music streaming service Spotify revealed that the singer/songwriter beat the likes of Eminem and Coldplay to the top spot, based on data collected from over 50 million users across the world. Calvin Harris and Katy Perry make up the remainder of the top five. Speaking about his achievement, Sheeran said, “It’s a great thing to be above so many amazing artists who I’d assume would be streamed more than me.”

However, despite his successes in the streaming charts, Ed Sheeran failed to make the top five tracks globally. Singer/songwriter, rapper and producer Pharrell Williams took the top spot with ‘Happy (from Despicable Me 2)’, which beat off competition from Clean Bandit‘s ‘Rather Be (ft. Jess Glynne)’ and Calvin Harris’s ‘Summer’. Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ and John Legend‘s ‘All of Me’ complete the top five.

Steve Savoca, head of content at Spotify, said: “This has been a phenomenal year for a rich variety of amazing artists on Spotify. Over 50 million dedicated music fans listened to more than 7 billion listening hours in 2014 alone.” He added: “Huge congratulations to Ed Sheeran on achieving most-streamed album on Spotify for the wildly successful ‘X’, and also for earning the overall most streamed artist of 2014 thanks to his dedicated fans on Spotify.”

Ed Sheeran’s success in the streaming chart is largely down to timing. His album X, which is available on Spotify, was released a couple of weeks before he took to the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury 2014. In the same month, it was announced that the Official Charts Company would be counting audio streams within their chart data. Following his performance on “The X Factor” on Sunday, October 26th, 2014, the singer’s third single ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was streamed over 1,638,000 times in a week. Not bad, eh?

However, not all artists have been as supportive of music streaming services. Quite famously, Taylor Swift made the move to withdraw all of her music from Spotify at the start of November 2014, as she believes artists don’t receive enough money from the service. Other famous artists who are missing from such services include AC/DC and The Beatles.

The streaming results, which includes artists we’ve written a lot on TGTF about including Coldplay, Glass Animals and Hozier, in full:

Top five global artists

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Eminem
3. Coldplay
4. Calvin Harris
5. Katy Perry

Top five global males

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Eminem
3. Calvin Harris
4. Avicii
5. David Guetta

Top five global females

1. Katy Perry
2. Ariana Grande
3. Lana Del Rey
4. Beyoncé
5. Lorde

Top five global groups

1. Coldplay
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Maroon 5
4. OneRepublic
5. One Direction

Top five global tracks

1. Happy (from Despicable Me 2) – Pharrell Williams
2. Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) – Clean Bandit
3. Summer – Calvin Harris
4. Dark Horse – Katy Perry
5. All of Me – John Legend

Top five global albums

1. X – Ed Sheeran
2. In the Lonely Hour – Sam Smith
3. The New Classic – Iggy Azalea
4. G I R L – Pharrell Williams
5. My Everything – Ariana Grande

Top five global viral tracks

1. Take Me to Church – Hozier
2. Gooey – Glass Animals
3. Ojos Color Sol – Calle 13
4. Coffee – Sylvan Esso
5. Hey Mami – Sylvan Esso

Most streamed artists in UK

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Arctic Monkeys
3. Eminem
4. Sam Smith
5. Coldplay

Most streamed tracks in UK

1. Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) – Clean Bandit
2. Happy – Pharrell Williams
3. Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) – M Probz
4. All of Me – John Legend
5. Stay With Me – Sam Smith

Most streamed albums in UK

1. X – Ed Sheeran
2. In the Lonely Hour – Sam Smith
3. Wanted On Voyage – George Ezra
4. The New Classic – Iggy Azalea
5. G I R L – Pharrell Williams

Top viral tracks in UK

1. Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – Baz Luhrmann
2. Gooey – Glass Animals
3. Everyone Is Gay – A Great Big World
4. Take Me To Church – Hozier
5. Far From Any Road – The Handsome Family

 

Official UK singles chart to include streamed data

 
By on Tuesday, 24th June 2014 at 11:00 am
 

Audio streams from the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Napster will count towards the Official Chart rankings from July 2014, it has been revealed.

Posting on their official Web site, the Official Charts Company confirmed that the move, which is supported by the UK music industry, “follows an explosion in streaming services with the total number of weekly audio streams selected by music fans growing from 100 million a week in January, 2013 to 200 million a week in January, 2014”. The figure is currently at 260 million.

The full list of audio streaming services that will count towards the Official Chart are:
– Spotify
– Deezer
– Napster
– O2 Tracks
– Xbox Music
– Sony’s Music Unlimited
– rara (powered by Omnifone)

The Official Charts Company added that “both paid and ad-funded” streaming services would count and “to reflect the difference in weight between streaming and purchasing, 100 streams will count as equivalent to 1 single (download or physical single) in the chart compilation process”. Furthermore, a track must be listened to for at least 30 seconds for it to register and plays will be capped at 10 plays per day. The move comes 10 years after sales of digital downloads were first added to the Official Chart.

Speaking about the announcement, Bastille‘s Dan Smith said, “Hearing ‘Pompeii’ has had over 26 million streams is amazing and completely weird and we’re really, really happy. I think streaming going into the chart is definitely a good thing. I think for the charts to be fair, it has to reflect how people digest music.”

The move has been greeted by mixed views from chart fanatics. While some believe that adding streams into the chart doesn’t truly reflect what people are listening to, others believe it’s a sign of the times and that it embraces the new way in which people listen to music.

A side-by-side comparison of both the Official UK Charts, in its current form, and the Official Streaming Chart shows that there are noticeable differences between what people are streaming and what they’re buying.

#

Streaming Chart
(as of June 21st)

Official Chart
(as of June 22nd)

1

Mr Probz – ‘Waves (Robin Schulz Remix)’
(8 weeks in chart)

Ella Henderson – ‘Ghost’
(2 weeks in chart)

2

 Sam Smith – ‘Stay With Me’
(4 weeks in chart)

 5 Seconds of Summer – ‘Don’t Stop’
(new entry)

3

 John Legend – ‘All Of Me’
(17 weeks in chart)

Ed Sheeran – ‘Sing’
(3 weeks in chart)

4

Ed Sheeran – ‘Sing’
(2 weeks in chart)

George Ezra – ‘Budapest’
(new entry)

5

Calvin Harris – ‘Summer’
(7 weeks in chart)

Sam Smith – ‘Stay With Me’
(5 weeks in chart)

Based on these stats, it’s clear that people are streaming music that has been around in the charts for longer, but the way in which the current chart system works doesn’t reflect that (as you can listen to a purchased track as many times as you like, but it will only count towards the sales figures once).

As a result of the upcoming merge, we could be seeing tracks dominating the Official UK Top 40 for longer than ever before. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it could mean that new tracks won’t get the same exposure. Whether this is the case, only time will tell. Stay tuned.

The first Official Singles Chart Top 40 to incorporate streams will be unveiled from 4-7 PM on Sunday, the 6th of July on BBC Radio 1, with the full Top 100 published on OfficialCharts.com at 7 PM that evening.

 

Album Review: Friendly Fires – Pala

 
By on Wednesday, 11th May 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

It was with much trepidation that I queued up the new Friendly Fires for a tentative first listen. After their largely DIY (yet sounding polished) self-titled debut album released 3 years ago that I still adore to this day, I figured the three from St. Albans were going to have to knock this one out of the park to impress me (and so far, sophomore albums released in 2011 have been largely hohum in my opinion). The cover of ‘Pala’, adorned by a brilliantly coloured parrot, clues you in that this is going to be a tropical-sounding album, which is perfect considering it’s being released right before the summer festival season gets in full swing. According to this Purple Revolver interview, it was entirely written by lead singer / bassist / synth player Ed Macfarlane, so he is going to be either your saviour or pain in the neck, depending on your first impression of this album. The band again employed Paul Epworth for production duties.

‘Live Those Days Tonight’, the first single, got its first airplay on Zane Lowe’s Radio1 programme in March. Unfortunately, I was not impressed in its lack of jangly guitars, a trend that was started by their stop-gap single release in summer 2009, ‘Kiss of Life’, described virtually everywhere as “tropicalia”. The echoey, introductory ethereal vocals recall ‘Jump in the Pool’, but there’s just too much going on here and in this case, it does not serve Friendly Fires well, as we know what they’re capable of from 2008’s ‘Friendly Fires’, relatively more stripped down (more can be read about the single from this previous TGTF post). With guest clavinet from Holy Ghost!‘s Alex Frankel, ‘True Love’, which I’m guessing is going to be another single down the road, suffers from the same fate. So if you’re more of a Friendly Fires purist, quite possibly you’re going to have a problem with ‘Pala’.

‘Blue Cassette’ reminisces in the days before digital music, when people traded physical plastic tapes instead of mp3 files over the internet. ‘Hurting’ is another track for reminiscing, if you look back at the cool beats of ’70s disco with fondness, as the trio have redone it with 21st century dance flair. The title track ‘Pala’ gets bonus points for having a chill, slinky, sexy vibe on an album that is otherwise high on life and therefore up tempoed. ‘Show Me Lights’ is a surprising highlight, showing how to do an r&b infused track that will get hips swinging on the dance floor. If only for Edd Gibson’s bouncy guitars, ‘Pull Me Back to Earth’ is a fun, boppy tune that won’t leave your head.

The misses? Macfarlane’s falsetto in ‘Running Away’. Oh dear. Just don’t go there. The computer bleeping in ‘Hawaiian Air’: the only grating thing about this otherwise slice of pop sunshine. ‘Helpless’, the closing track, is another slow jam like ‘Pala’ but this one drags its feet. Overall, there’s obvious signs of maturity in the writing and instrumentation on ‘Pala’. But for some reason, I’m not moved by the lyrics (but this might be an entirely moot point, considering this is a “dance album” and therefore no-one’s going to be scouring Macfarlane’s word choices anyway, they’re more interested in his dance moves onstage) and I just feel claustrophobic and not energised by hearing too many layers of sound.

I do know from personal experience that Friendly Fires is an amazing live band so maybe like the Temper Trap‘s ‘Conditions’ (another album I gave a not-so-great rating on), I’m guessing this is one of those better served up live. Want to listen for yourself? Stream the album live below, courtesy of the Hype Machine.

6/10

‘Pala’, the second album from Friendly Fires, will be released on Monday 16 May on XL Recordings. The band play tonight at Glasgow Arches and tomorrow at Manchester Sound Control (both shows sold out) just before appearing as the headlining act Friday night at Brighton Dome for 2011’s Great Escape.

.

 

Get Ready to Rock with Green Day and We7

 
By on Monday, 11th May 2009 at 9:00 am
 

Green Day (side)After an excruciatingly-long five year break (not including their awesome 2008 side-project, Foxboro Hot Tubs), punk-rockers Green Day finally return this month with the apparently “phenomenal” ’21st Century Breakdown’.

The album is set to be released worldwide on May 15th, but lucky for us, rad music service, We7, have blagged exclusive rights to stream the new album online from today (May 11th)…for free!

It’s undeniable that Green Day have big things to live up to, namely in the form of 2004’s worldwide smash, ‘American Idiot’. Amazingly, however, Rolling Stone have gone as far to comment that ’21st Century Breakdown’ makes Green Day’s previous album sounds like a mere “warm-up”, claiming their new release is “better, more masterful and confident”.

‘Know Your Enemy’, the fierce debut single from ’21st Century Breakdown’, has already made waves across the country. But this rockin’ track is just a minor dip into the massive masterpiece that is ‘Breakdown’. The album has 18 tracks, and lasts an electrifying 70 minutes. It’s so long, that Green Day have chosen to split it up into three acts, titled ‘Heroes and Cons’, ‘Charlatans and Saints’ and ‘Horseshoes and Handgrenades’.

So if you just can’t wait to get your hands on the album this Friday, be sure to head over to We7.com tomorrow morning to listen to the incredible ’21st Century Breakdown’ in it’s full-blown punk rock glory.

However, the Green Day fun doesn’t stop there, oh no! If you fancy downloading some of their older material while you’re there, We7 will also be offering up the band’s extensive musical back catalogue at a special reduced price in celebration. Plus! On top of all of that, We7 will also be giving away two personalised, framed presentation discs of ’21st Century Breakdown’ to a couple of very lucky winners.

So, for a day, of erm, Green Day, head over to We7.com tomorrow for just that!

(We7 is an ad-funded free music service and integrated download store. Users can listen to over 3.5 million tracks from all four majors and hundreds of independents and pay to download what they love. Setup in 2007 by Peter Gabriel, Steve Purdham, Gareth Reakes and John Taysom, We7 has pioneered new techniques and ideas in technology and business models.)

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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