Streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer have generated more than £100m in UK subscriptions last year for the first time / Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Changes to the UK's official charts will count 100 streams as a single purchase

Spotify founder Daniel Ek has said that musicians can no longer ignore music streaming, arguing that the newest addition to the industry is now part of “the artist’s reality”.

Mr Ek’s comments come as the Official Charts Company announces that it will count audio streams alongside downloads and physical sales to compile the UK’s official singles chart.

The official UK top 40 will now take into account data from streaming sites Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Xbox Music, Music Unlimited and Rara. 100 streams will be judged the equivalent of a single purchase or download with at least 30 seconds of streaming required to qualify.

Mr Ek said that artists’ fear of streaming was “the fear of cannibalization,” but told the BBC that “withholding music means that you’re basically withholding it from an audience that probably wouldn’t have purchased it anyway.”

“This whole range of business [...]  is now the artist’s reality, because they’re not just selling music; they are selling concerts, they are selling merchandise, they’re selling the whole thing,” said Mr Ek.

The Official Charts Company’s decision to include streaming is the biggest change to the industry bellwether since digital purchases were included in 2005.

"Over the last 18 months we've seen a real explosion in the amount of streaming that goes on and it's a rapidly growing market,” said the organization’s chief executive Martin Talbot.

“It's a shift in the way music fans, particularly hardcore music fans, are accessing their music. This singles chart is all about representing and reflecting music popularity and we felt that because of this rapid growth, we had to look to include streaming in our data."