Sunday 15 September 2019

Irish Top 40 now set to include streamed tunes

Ella Henderson
Ella Henderson

Sarah McCabe

THE Top 40 "Oifiguil na hEireann", beloved fallback of radio DJs around the country, is about to get a lot more diverse from next month, once the Irish charts start to include music streamed online.

The current Irish number one is Ghost by Ella Henderson (right). But the former X-Factor finalist may not be in pole position once the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), which compiles the official Irish Top 40, takes account of streamed music in the singles chart from July.

"We have been trialling it for a while," said chairman Willie Kavanagh.

"Music is consumed in so many different ways now. If you exclude one method you are not getting a true statistical measure of popularity."

His organisation IRMA is a representative group for the Irish industry, which regularly takes internet service providers to court for facilitating the illegal downloading of music.

It is back in court in October, in a case against UPC. If successful, the case "should pave the way for the end of non-consequential downloading", Mr Kavanagh said.

The Irish singles chart already includes downloaded music alongside physical purchases, heavily led by iTunes. Now music streamed on online services such as Spotify, Xbox, Deezer and Qobuz will be included too.

IRMA is in talks with three more streaming providers: Google, Sony Unlimited and Rdio.

But for smaller artists, streaming is a less lucrative delivery method than downloads or physical sales.

Artists receive the same amount in royalties for one download as they do for 100 streams.

There are no Irish streaming services on the market, which is dominated by US giant Spotify. Firms require huge initial investment to create a library of music enticing enough to attract users.

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