SHOWCASE SCOTLAND EXPO BRIEFING: OFFICIAL FOLK ALBUM CHART
The Official Charts Company and English Folk Expo’s Manchester Folk Festival will launch the first official folk album chart in October 2020. Alongside producers English Folk Expo, Showcase Scotland Expo is a founding partner of the Official Folk Album Chart. The chart is compiled on a monthly basis and will look at album physical and digital sales, downloads and streams. Eligibility for inclusion in the chart is for UK and Irish musicians releasing folk albums within the past 18 months. The chart will be published on the first Monday of each calendar month and will include sales for the previous month. In the month of an album release, presales are also included in the data set. EFEx and Showcase Scotland Expo will produce comprehensive FAQs about the chart - a preliminary sample of which are below The first published chart will use the data from sales in September 2020. A launch event will take place on Saturday 17 October 2020 and will be live-streamed free from HOME, Manchester during the weekend which would have been Manchester Folk Festival’s fourth annual event. The launch event will be hosted by renowned BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 6 broadcaster Mark Radcliffe, and will feature four artists: one each from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
FAQS How are the charts compiled?
The charts data is compiled by Kantar. Kantar is the market research company currently contracted by Official Charts Company to collect sales data. The chart compilation system employs the largest market research sample currently in use in the UK and is one of the most sophisticated chart systems in the world. Kantar maintains a large database, the Product Master File, which details all known physical and digital audio and video releases. They have a list of approved physical retailers, online retailers, download and streaming platforms. Each month, the data from these retailers is collated and sent to the Official Charts Company who process it and compile the charts.
How are the sales calculated?
Sales are calculated through working with Chart Retailers. Information about these can be found here: https://www.officialcharts.com/getting-into-the-charts/the-chart-retailers/
Chart Retailers report their data on sales, downloads and streams to the Official Charts Company who use this data to compile a Defined Universe Sales (DUS) figure. The data is collected over a fixed period which changes throughout the year, usually incorporating the 4 or 5 weeks prior to release. You should look at the Chart Calendar to determine the best date to release music in order to give you the maximum period of time to sell albums for that months chart. For example, in order to feature in the April 2020 chart, published on Monday 6th April 2020, the period when data was collected for this chart was from Friday 21st February 2020 to Thursday 26th March inclusive.
What constitutes an album?
This is done through price, track numbers and album length. An album is 5 or more tracks OR more than 25 minutes in length, and which must meet the fixed minimum pricing for physical and digital sales. Full details can be found in the downloadable pdf on this web page: https://www.officialcharts.com/getting-into-the-charts/meeting-the-chart-rules/
How often are the charts published?
The Official Folk Albums Chart is published at 4pm on the first Monday of each month. If that Monday is a UK bank holiday, this will happen 24 hours later. The charts are published on the Official Charts Company website, the English Folk Expo website and via an email to English Folk Expo’s ‘Music Industry’ subscribers.
Is there a singles chart as well as an albums chart?
The folk chart is a monthlyalbum chart. Whilst the Official Charts Company run a range of charts including singles, weekly and other genres, the folk one is for albums and is produced monthly only. However once your music is registered to be reported to the Official Charts Company, it is possible to appear in any charts for which it is eligible, including the main weekly Official Singles Chart.
Are all types of folk music considered for the Folk Charts? (Americana, blues, folk-rock, alt-folk, etc.)
Yes, the Official Charts Company have a team who review all new releases and decide on genre. To be eligible for this chart, you must be from the UK or Ireland and perform music which could fit into the broad category of ‘folk’. You can get in touch with them to make a request to be included in the folk charts directly via this email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Do pre-orders count towards the sale figures?
Yes, but only official pre-order sales through retailers who are set up for chart fulfilment (ie able to report the data to the Charts). Note: Kickstarter funds do not count as presales.
Do streams count towards the figures?
Yes, streams via recognised streaming platforms do count towards the chart data. There is more information about how album streams are translating into chart data on our EFEx Digital platform
How do you report live physical sales, for example from a tour or festival performance?
The Official Charts Company have a service called Lightning Live. This is a paid for service where you register your tour dates in advance through them and then report merch sales as you go along. You cannot do this retrospectively. Pricing for Lightning Live varies, starting from £50. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Do festival CD stalls report sales data to the Official Charts Company.
Only festivals who have CD stalls outsourced to recognized fulfilment services (such as Proper) automatically report on chart data. For independent festival CD stalls, there is an option for festivals to register their own CD sales through the Lightning Live route (see above), however they may need to set up several accounts as each Lightning Live account can only take 5 products. Pricing for Lightning Live varies, starting from £50. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How do I guarantee my album will be picked up in the folk chart data set?
Email Cat to make sure she’s picked it up. email@example.com
What things need to be considered that first-timers don’t usually think about?
Make sure you have the unique identifiers for all your physical and digital copies of your music (more info below). Give it some time – it might take 2-3 weeks to get an album registered with the charts, then you will likely want a 6-8 week pre-sales period. This means that from the point of finishing your album, you might want to leave about 10 weeks before actual release date as a minimum.