Spotify foe Taylor Swift tops first Billboard chart that includes streaming data

Swift's 1989 - which last month had the biggest debut of any US album in 12 years - returned to the top spot on the Billboard 200 for the seven days until Sunday after slipping for one week. -- PHOTO: AFP
Swift's 1989 - which last month had the biggest debut of any US album in 12 years - returned to the top spot on the Billboard 200 for the seven days until Sunday after slipping for one week. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Taylor Swift had accused Spotify of harming the music industry, but she returned to No. 1 on Wednesday as the benchmark United States album chart for the first time factored in streaming.

Swift's 1989 - which last month had the biggest debut of any US album in 12 years - returned to the top spot on the Billboard 200 for the seven days through Sunday after slipping for one week.

The album jumped from No. 2 to No. 1 this week with total album sales of 339,000 units, according to physical album sales, digital song sales and online streaming figures compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.

The new weekly Billboard 200 chart, previously measured only by physical and digital US album sales, will now include digital songs, of which 10 songs equal one album unit, plus online streaming figures, where 1,500 streams equal one album unit.

In the case of 1989 this week, there were 281,000 copies sold of the full album, 580,000 songs purchased individually and 36,000 streams of music from 1989.

The lower streaming figure relates to Swift removing her entire catalogue of music from online streaming giant Spotify last month, accusing the Swedish company of devaluing music by insufficiently compensating artists.

Her work - minus 1989 - remains on rival services such as Google Play, Apple-owed Beats Music and Rhapsody which require payment.

1989 also gained ground due to the lack of a new blockbuster debut.

British boy band One Direction's Four, which dethroned Swift when it came out, slipped in its second week to, incidentally, No. 4.

New release Shady XV, a compilation double-album by Eminem and affiliated rappers, entered at No. 3. No. 2 was a Christmas album by the Texas a cappella group Pentatonix.

The clearest beneficiary of the chart's changes was teenage star turned pop singer Ariana Grande, whose My Everything shot up from No. 39 to No. 7, with one-third of equivalent album sales made up of track sales or streaming.

Spotify meanwhile released its own type of chart on Wednesday. It said British singer Ed Sheeran was its most streamed artist in 2014, with more than 840 million listens so far this year.

Pharrell Williams' viral anthem Happy was the most streamed single song, played more than 260 million times.

Irish singer Hozier was identified as having the most viral track with Take Me To Church. With the popularity of the song, Hozier's debut album opened in October at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, which at that time did not consider streaming.

Spotify also shed light on the most popular tracks by country. The German house DJ Robin Schulz was dominant in Europe, topping playlists in Britain, France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.

US pop rockers Maroon 5 enjoyed a strong following in Asian regions where Spotify is present, ranking No. 1 or 2 in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

Australian hip hop artist Iggy Azalea's Fancy was No. 1 in both the United States and Australia and No. 2 in New Zealand after Sam Smith's Stay With Me.