Charts will change from next month
The Official Charts Company has announced that streaming figures for songs will be included in the UK music chart for the first time on July 6.
Under the new system, 100 streams of a song will be equivalent to one single purchased. Sites such as Spotify, Napster, Deezer, Music Unlimited, Rara, 02 Tracks and Xbox Music will all contribute to the new rankings.
Managing director Martin Talbot said the move would "future proof" the charts, but added that the biggest selling tracks were likely to correlate with the most streamed songs.
It is thought that the top 5 songs in any given week will remain largely unaffected by the change, with studies of the weekly charts over an 18-month period revealing that the number one single would only have been different on one occasion if the new system had been in place.
However, it is expected that including streaming figures will allow songs to sneak into the top 10 that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
The system has already been successfully implemented in countries such as the US, Sweden and Germany, in some cases as far back as 2012.
A track will need to be played for at least 30 seconds before it is counted as a 'listen', while only 10 plays per user, per day will count towards a song's chart position.
YouTube video plays will not count towards the charts as yet, although the Official Charts Company is set to monitor the situation. This is likely to be good news for indie labels, after YouTube announced it would block their videos last week.
Spotify founder wants all bands to embrace streaming
In the wake of this move, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek has said it no longer makes any sense for a band or artist to block their work from streaming sites.
High profile artists such as Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Garth Brooks, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin have experienced a somewhat tempestuous relationship with streaming services, although some have since given in and allowed their work to be used.
More recently, The Black Keys and Coldplay have refused to release their new material on streaming platforms.
Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "The fact that streams will now count towards the official music chart makes the standoff between artists and services such as Spotify even more intriguing."
"While the industry is suggesting it will not alter the final outcome of the charts much, it will be interesting to see if this is indeed the case once the new look rankings are released."