Data with destiny: Charting the impact of the OCC's video and premium streaming changes


The Official Charts Company certainly picked an interesting week to bring in its chart changes.

The move to upgrade premium streams and add video consumption came as Drake dropped Scorpion – the biggest thing on streaming since Ed Sheeran, yet with its top tracks lacking an official video – and as Three Lions underwent a revival that seemed to owe a lot to YouTube streams.

Of course, unpicking the true impact will take months, and the OCC won’t draw any conclusions until early next year. But looking at the first week’s data still tells us a lot about where the UK streaming market is right now.

Across last week’s Top 40, there were 142 million streams, 112m audio (79.5%) and 30m video (20.5%), with video numbers, as you might expect, accentuated towards the top end of the chart.

Girls Like You, by Maroon 5 Feat. Cardi B, was actually the most-streamed video of all – showing the new added value of having a viral promo clip featuring multiple guest celebrity appearances  but, at No.10, looks to have received only a small chart boost as a result. Meanwhile, 10 tracks had less than 10% of their streams from video – usually because they didn’t have an official video. Indeed, Drake himself suffered from this; his Michael Jackson-featuring track Don't Matter To Me would have run George Ezra's Shotgun a lot closer at the top (although it still wouldn't have been No.1) if it had anything beyond a lyric video to pay with. 

Most video streams are, of course, free courtesy of YouTube, but the premium/ad-funded audio divide is interesting, with 86.2% of streams coming from subscriptions, and just 13.8% from free. Those levels look remarkably consistent across the genres, although Three Lions scored the highest percentage of paid-for streams at 94.3%.

You can expect labels everywhere to be poring over these figures over the next few weeks. The big question is, how will they use that data?

Might we see the attempted return of windowing, but this time for tracks, as labels target premium streams? Will artists make videos for every track so they don’t miss out on potential chart points? Is the free funnel smaller than expected, or do ad-funded customers just stream less? And will England ever get a better chance to win the World Cup?

Watch this space for answers to most of those questions in the coming weeks…

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