Earlier in the year, the UK recording industry introduced a world first streaming music chart that tracked listening habits on streaming services that have grown in popularity around the world over the past 24 months.
In the two years since these services have gained popularity across the world, a large number of international and local streaming providers have launched in Australia, including Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, JB Hi-Fi Now, Mog, and Rara; and their rising popularity lead to calls for the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) to introduce a similar chart.
Now, after months of consultation and negotiating with local streaming providers, ARIA is finally ready to follow in the footsteps of their UK counterparts and have announced an official launch date for their highly-anticipated local version of the streaming charts.
According to TheMusic, ARIA CEO Dan Rosen confirmed at the inaugural ARIA Week’s ARIA Masterclass conference that the charts will launch on Sunday 9th December, a little over six months since they were first announced by the record industry’s peak body.
Similarly to the UK chart, the Australian chart will monitor the streaming and listening habits of Australians from a range of different providers.
Rosen is yet to confirm which operators will be included for launch, although it seems likely that industry leader Spotify will feature front and centre given the charts were first announced in response to Spotify entering the Australian music market.
Speaking to Tone Deaf earlier this year, Rosen said that ARIA were “working with each of the various music streaming services that have entered the local market to acquire the data necessary to produce a weekly ARIA Streaming Chart” but stressed that it was not a simple process.
Renee Chambers, head of Spotify’s Label Relations, told Tone Deaf that Spotify were “willing and able to provide data to ARIA,” adding “we were very much on board with the OCC streaming chart launch recently in the UK.”
Rosen has also flagged plans to to eventually include data from the streaming charts into the algorithm that produces the ARIA singles charts which at the moment is based solely on digital downloads.
The move to track streaming comes as Rosen and his team at ARIA look to stay relevant by embracing the digital revolution that turned the music industry on its head globally.
“The advent of streaming services is an exciting development for our industry and one which we are very proud of as the music industry continues to lead the way in embracing new business models for the digital age,” Rosen said earlier in the year.
“However with physical products such as CDs and vinyl still making up over 50% of the market and digital downloads accounting for the majority of digital revenue, it is too early to say whether streaming will be the future of music.”
But despite ARIA’s early embrace of the streaming music model, there are those within the industry who remain skeptical, especially when it comes to the subject of musician royalties.
In one case late last year, Mercury Music Prize nominated artist, Jon Hopkins, claims to have been paid a measly £8 (roughly $12.50) for 90,000 plays of his music on Spotify. By most estimations, the streaming services are paying out receiving roughly 0.3 of a cent per stream.
It’s estimated though that in the last 12 months, Spotify have paid over $180 million in royalties and that the company is on track to pay another $360 million over the next 12 months, which has led to some industry experts to criticise Spotify’s business model stating that it’s almost impossible for them to make a real profit.
In every since the inception of Spotify the company has lost money.
Still not everyone sees doom and gloom, and Rosen in particular is confident that streaming services will eventually find their footing as yet another method for fans to access music legally.
“There never was any moral justification for stealing an artists work,” Rosen said. “But with almost all music now being available for free or at a low cost, there is no justification for any music fan to use a pirate sites where money doesn’t go to the artist and label. Streaming services will certainly assist with reducing music piracy.”