France set to introduce streaming data into official charts and certified awards, as streaming continues growing.

Last month, SNEP, the French music trade body, held its annual conference dedicated to the French recorded music market.As already reported here, streaming figures and revenues were the centerpoint of the conference.

One aspect went however fairly unnoticed: the annual album chart that was presented on that occasion was, in a bold move, one that combined sales and streaming data.

Bold move ?

True, UK, US and, quite recently, Germany have already done this. But not France, which has always been the black sheep of the 5 major world music markets when it came to produce state-of-the-art charts.

To get the notion of how bold this move was, consider the following.

Snep launched a weekly streaming chart in September 2014. And announced that track downloads and streaming would merge into an official Singles chart in a matter of months.

This never happened. Contacted in February 2015, Patricia Sarrant, Snep’s spokesperson, indicated technical issues had delayed the introduction of such a chart and hoped these issues would be solved « soon ». Today, such a chart still does not exist.

Now, the conversion of streams to tracks seems quite simple to implement, once you settle on a conversion ratio, should this be specific to the French market as it is very likely to be (as is the case for Spain, see here) The conversion of streams to album-equivalents, the so-called ‘stream-equivalent-album’ concept, is a much more complex affair and no industry standard really exists, the UK and the US, to name but a few, implementing different methods.

This is why Snep presenting an unprecedented combined annual 2015 albums chart, hot on the heels of BVMI, its German counterpart, was definitely noteworthy.

According to this chart, Adele’s 25, despite being the year’s best-seller, ranks only second to Louane’s Chambre 12, more streamed. Many other albums rank differently on Snep’s annual combined chart than on the plain annual sales chart.

Asked for more details, Snep said, last week, they did not want to communicate yet on the method used (apart from the fact it is « similar to the one used in the UK and Sweden »), nor the date when the weekly albums and singles charts would start combining sales and streams. However they insisted that this would be in 2016 and would be done with Ifpi’s supervision.

They had also announced, earlier on, that streaming data would start being used in 2016 for the certified awards they deliver.

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