The inclusion of YouTube streams in official music industry charts has long been a talking point. In some countries it already happens, but elsewhere it doesn’t: not just because of ‘value gap’ tensions, but also careful thought about how to weight those YouTube streams against paid and free streams from audio services.

Now the IFPI has developed a ‘music charts framework’ which aims to standardise these calculations, and speed the process of adding YouTube streams into music charts across the world.

The framework will see charts only count views from logged-in YouTube users and official music videos – so not UGC content. Those views must be longer than 30 seconds, and “views of official content which have been generated by advertising campaigns on the platform” will not be included.

“Provided they meet this criteria views from both the subscription and ad-supported tiers of YouTube will be eligible,” explains the IFPI. The methodology will roll out from this month for charts in Australia, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Philippines and South Africa.

This feels like a good step forward: YouTube is a hugely important consumption platform for music, and while the debates about how to value its streams are also important, in 2022 a music chart that excludes YouTube isn’t a true reflection of what people are listening to.

“A global framework for the inclusion of eligible YouTube consumption in national charts will benefit artists, who will see consumption of their music on the platform recognised in a meaningful way, and fans, who will see a chart that further reflects the full breadth of their music engagement in their country. It will also improve our understanding of the music market,” said the IFPI’s head of global charts Lewis Morrison.

“It is an important step forward for the industry and in IFPI’s work to ensure charts around the world remain relevant and accurately reflect the way fans engage with music today.  It will also benefit artists and labels who invest in great video content.”

The work that has gone into this framework could be a pointer to future expansion too. TikTok’s Ole Obermann said last July that he was keen to see “creation and engagement” on that service become a metric in charts too. Perhaps figuring out how to do that will be the next task for the IFPI.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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