This week's Rising Star is Official Charts Company operations executive Gabbie Witham. Find out why she believes the OCC is vital for the biz here…
How did you break into the industry?
I filled my time with as many internships as I could – any spare time I had outside of university was used to apply for various roles. I was a street team member for Ninja Tune, I volunteered at a music talent agency, was a student ambassador for Spotify and attended free BBC Radio 1 workshops, which resulted in me being scouted for work experience with them. I think being able to show your love and willingness to work in the industry on your CV is incredibly appealing to employers.
How important is the Official Charts Company to the industry?
The history and the legacy of the charts are important, but the charts remain relevant and reliable by reflecting the consumption of music as it changes through the eras. One thing is for sure, it still means something to the artists. I had the great pleasure of meeting Stormzy when he came into our office to collect his No.1 award last year and you could tell what it meant to him.
How can the OCC ensure it keeps up with a changing business?
By keeping pace. We’ve now introduced video streams to the chart as an important reflection of music consumption today, and I’m really excited this is now being showcased in such a way. It’s important that we don’t only consider sales of audio products – streaming now makes up over 90% of the singles market alone. Entire music scenes, such as grime, have monumental video streaming figures and it’s great that we can now consider that in our charts.
What does the OCC need to do to thrive?
Maintain our forward-thinking attitude and always look to stay one step ahead of new music consumption sources. For example, cassette sales are up by 90% year-on-year and we absolutely need to be continuing to spot trends, whether it be the emergence of new forms of consumption or the return of the old.
How do you see the future for the charts?
Few could have foreseen the impact streaming would have so quickly, so who knows what’s next? The charts have changed dramatically in recent years and I can see a future in more genre-focused charts, utilising and analysing data in the way the services do and increasing the range of artists that receive chart success.
What is your biggest ambition?
I’ve been lucky enough to witness the industry change substantially in the time I’ve been in it. Whatever the next big industry revolution turns out to be, I’d like to be at the forefront of it!