In a new announcement shared Monday, the U.K.’s Official Charts service announced sweeping changes to how artists and songs qualify for chart positions. According to the new rules, any individual artist can have no more than three songs in the Official Singles Chart Top 100. The move comes in response to streaming services’ influence on music consumption and to help lesser known acts find a way onto the charts.
The Official Charts cited Little Mix, Drake, The Chainsmokers, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd and Stormzy as examples of artists who wouldn’t have had as much chart success if the new rules had always been in place. But the worst offender being busted is Ed Sheeran, who saw all 16 songs from his latest album in the top 20 when it dropped.
Official Charts claims that music streaming has doubled in the last year alone and is still surging at 1.2 billion streams a week being counted for chart purposes. Counting each play, even as a fraction of a sale, means that repeated listens on streaming services can boost chart position in a way repeated listens on physical copies never could.
The move is designed the keep entire albums off of the singles charts and also includes adjustments to older songs’ streaming ratios–that is, the credit a single stream earns towards chart position after it hass peaked. Apparently, major and independent record labels, retailers and streaming services are all on board with the major changes.
Ed has yet to react to the news publicly, but it’s looking like he’ll never see the same kind of chart success he had with “Divide” ever again. He might already be talking to Adele about the changes.
What do you think? Is this a fair way to give smaller artists a shot at the charts?
(Photo credit: Ed Sheeran Instagram account)