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Should streaming be included in all-time sales lists?
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vidsanta
post May 12 2016, 06:33 AM
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Paul Hyett
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I know the issue has come up, but I don't think its had its own thread before?

I can see a couple of points.

1. If we *don't* include streaming, then the fast-declining paid-for sales market could well prevent *any* song from penetrating the 1m sales level in future.

2. If we allow them to count, there's a risk that they'll swamp that same list, given the rapid expansion of streaming - and I really don't think that this many recent songs are dramatically more popular than historic entries on the list. ISTM if streaming *is* to count towards the historic best sellers list, then a readjustment to the 100-1 ratio will become necessary to avoid the very swamping I mentioned.

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JosephCarey
post May 12 2016, 06:56 AM
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Yes. If they're included in weekly and overall totals, they should be consistent when producing lists. It's clearly the way the chart is going after all.
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vidsanta
post May 12 2016, 11:02 AM
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Of course, if you *don't* allow streaming to contribute to historic best-sellers lists, then you would be under-estimating the real popularity of recent hits... wink.gif
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shindymindy
post May 12 2016, 11:51 AM
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Yes - otherwise recent songs will move up the all time list and overtake the older hits that aren't having streaming added.
One rule for all.
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dancember
post May 12 2016, 04:05 PM
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Definitely yes.
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Envoirment
post May 12 2016, 04:35 PM
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Nope, I feel it's not fair on a lot of older hits that were huge and we'd likely see the all time list swamped with mainly newer releases, to the point where the all time list will just be songs from the 2010s onwards. At least with downloads they were the same as a CD in terms of sales and CDs were available (as were casettes etc) for sales. Whereas streaming doesn't have a similar counterpart in the past.
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Gambo
post May 12 2016, 04:48 PM
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Surely the answer should be to report both?

Whilst it's probably appropriate and realistic from now on to expect overall unit tallies to be expressed inclusive of audio streaming equivalent 'sales' as well as paid-for true sales, the still very legitimate ongoing need for a breakdown of the contributions made by each method of consumption should also be reported alongside the combined figures. So, quite simply, whenever a to-date sales total is cited, either as part of a ranked chart, or just routine reportage in MW analysis etc, it should be cited as a combined figure, with an actual sales (or streams) figure in brackets, allowing anyone who is interested in continuing to measure paid-for sales only as separate from the artificial ones accrued courtesy of streaming to do so with a simple calculation. As this good habit was never instigated as a rule from the outset, I doubt it will ever now come into play, especially with regulasr reports citing assorted sales figures, such as those written by Alan Jones each week. But at the very least I'd like to think it reasonable to hope that in future, when publishing such things as all-time charts, or a list of million-unit-shifters, the OCC would give a clear indication as to the split between the two modes of music consumption.
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Dobservance
post May 12 2016, 06:11 PM
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No, it needs to be consistent IMO throughout time.
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dandy*
post May 12 2016, 06:20 PM
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I'm not that bothered really but probably 'No'.

If we have a list of best selling singles and a list of top streamed singles separately then they will reflect the different periods accurately without completely making up data, including streams just devalues the point of it being an all time list as it looks as though it would soon be dominated by recent songs.
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Ethan
post May 12 2016, 06:53 PM
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it’s an emphatic yes from me cool.gif ~ streaming is simply replacing buying music as the preferred method of consuming music in the uk music.gif

any list covering 64 years is not going to be perfectly ‘fair’ or without its inconsistencies~

the population of the uk has increased somewhat since 1952;
shop opening times increased from a few hours a week, through the relaxation of Sunday trading rules, to the current 24/7 on demand market we enjoy today;
accuracy of the sales data has improved markedly from the very limited samples from a handful of shops, for instance a number of million sellers between 1994-1996 are under dispute and sales pre-1994 are little more than a ‘guestimate’;
different formats (vinyl, cassette, cd, mini disc, mp3, lossless, streaming) and price points make comparisons between eras tenuous in terms of accuracy;
the market expands and contracts cyclically ~ comparing 1992 x 1997 and 2008 x 2013 ~ higher sales in 1997 and 2013 may simply be a result of more people buying cds/downloads generally rather than songs being more popular than those of 5 years earlier;

given that the all-time sales list already has a somewhat chequered past and that the chart sale, where 100x audio streams generate the same revenue as 1x 99p download, is a perfectly reasonable equivalence to allow continuity~

older songs are also being streamed and having their totals topped up, this will only accelerate as increasing numbers from older generations join the streaming party!
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Yorkie3
post May 12 2016, 07:43 PM
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No - I agree with streaming being included in the chart now sales are observably collapsing, but the fact is that "sales" are FAR too artificially high with streaming included to make any sense with respect to the all-time list. Even before streaming, with downloads at their peak the best selling singles of all time were beginning to be dominated by newer songs, mainly due to trickle sales. Nothing could be done about that, because a sale is still a sale, but an artificial number being added on due to people listening to a song when they didn't even have to pay for it doesn't seem right to me, even if it works in the weekly charts when all songs are on an even footing. Within the next few years we would end up with more than half the list being made up of singles post-2010.

On the other hand, don't know if it's been discussed before, but I was thinking it would be interesting to see a list of best-selling singles (streaming included) with sales of each single as a proportion of total sales in the year in which it was released - i.e. songs from 2012/13 would be a lot lower, whilst those from 2005/6 would be boosted. It would be a much better indicator of the most popular singles of all time, but would probably be impossible to calculate for anything pre-1994.
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Atonement
post May 12 2016, 08:00 PM
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QUOTE(dandy* @ May 12 2016, 08:20 PM) *
I'm not that bothered really but probably 'No'.

If we have a list of best selling singles and a list of top streamed singles separately then they will reflect the different periods accurately without completely making up data, including streams just devalues the point of it being an all time list as it looks as though it would soon be dominated by recent songs.


I agree. Does there really have to be ONE definite all-time list when the composition of sales has been so fundamentally different through time? We can't really compare one to another and we don't have to.

(plus 'Come on Over' needs to remain best selling album by a female artist of all time and I think that's something we can ALL agree with)
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dandy*
post May 12 2016, 08:05 PM
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Atonement, your avatar has made me realise that I haven't listened to that album in far too long. That'll be my journey to work accompaniment sorted for tomorrow then.
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Atonement
post May 12 2016, 08:11 PM
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wub.gif It really is a masterpiece (and should be best selling album by a female artist of all time tbh).
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