As is already the case in many big music markets, France has just launched a new formula for its albums chart, one that gathers sales and streaming data.
Snep, the French music trade body, gave details on the change within its traditional H1 market report.
Up until now, and across all major markets, no standard formula has existed as to how to count streams alongside album sales. And it looks like France has adopted yet another way for doing that.
Here is the explanation as provided by Snep:
All streams of all tracks of a given album are added, regardless of freemium/paid-subscription considerations.The most streamed track of the album is then down-weighted to half its streaming figure, and the streams total is corrected accordingly.This total is then divided by 1000 and yields the “streaming equivalent album” (SEA) figure which, in turn, is added to the number of units sold physically or downloaded.
The formula appears to be similar to the one adopted in the UK by The Official Charts Company.
However it differs in the number of tracks which streams are taken into account, the number of down-weighted tracks and by how much the latter are down-weighted.
The French scheme turns out to be very different from the one Billboard has implemented in the US or the very special one BVMI has adopted in Germany where only premium services streams are eligible for SEA and where, altogether, the concept is much more retail-value driven.
The very first French weekly albums chart that complies to this new scheme is the one dated week-ending July 21st, 2016.
It features the best-selling album of the week, Claudio Capéo’s eponymous offering, standing at number 3.
However, the 3rd weekly best-seller (in traditional terms), Jul’s ‘Emotions’ (pictured), is No.1, having been more streamed.
Will this kind of distortion between “week’s best-seller” and “number one on the chart” become the norm?
Too early to say, really, but one thing holds true: the introduction of the new chart has by chance coincided with the weakest-selling ‘pure sales’ No.1 album (Claudio Capéo) since 2009.
All things were therefore obviously set for such a distortion to happen on this inaugural week.
The French albums chart was first launched in November 1968, with Jacques Brel’s 6th eponymous LP on Barclay being the first ever number 1 album.
Since then, it has gone through numerous changes, going from monthly to bi-monthly to weekly; from featuring the nation’s 20 best-sellers to featuring 200 weekly entries; counting compilations jointly then separately; moving from vinyl to CDs; moving out all albums older than 2 years to a specific “back-catalogue” chart; incorporating digital albums; and, now, what will undoubtedly remain as one of the major milestones in the history of this chart, folding in streaming data.