After an absence of more than 10 years, the RIM Charts are back.
Compiled by the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia (RIM), the RIM Charts used to be THE de facto charts for the most popular and best-selling music in Malaysia, but it was discontinued in 2006 for several reasons.
However, with the rise of music streaming as the main format for music consumption in Malaysia, RIM decided that it was time for its signature charts to return.
Unlike the previous charts, which were compiled based on radio airplay and CD sales, the current incarnation will focus solely on music streaming data, based on reports submitted by major digital music providers such as Apple Music, Spotify, KKBOX and Deezer, and aggregated by BMAT, a company which provides music monitoring services.
According to Darren Choy, chairman of RIM and managing director of Warner Music Malaysia, one of the reasons the charts were stopped in the first place was because of dwindling CD sales.
It was also difficult to tabulate the charts back then because RIM could not get information from the retailers on the physical sales, and streaming was still in its infancy.
But since then, he said, the digital music market has now clearly grown to the point where an official chart is needed.
“We felt this is the best time to revive the chart because a lot of the revenue now comes from streaming and digital formats. This is how most consumers are currently consuming music right now, and it is a major contributor of revenue to the music industry,” he said during a press conference at the RIM office in Kuala Lumpur recently.
According to annual music industry revenue statistics released last year by RIM, digital sales revenue contributed RM72.7mil to the Malaysian music industry in 2016, which is around 39.2% of the overall music industry revenue.
Within that segment, audio streaming alone accounted for up to RM31.1mil.
Currently, the main RIM Chart lists the Top 20 most streamed songs in Malaysia, with a separate chart for the Top 10 most streamed domestic songs. However, Choy said that they will consider having separate charts for Chinese language and other genres in the future.
“As it is right now, streaming is still very much skewed towards urban markets, so you will see more international songs dominating the charts,” he said, adding that they will also only focus on singles for now.
“The consumption of music is also very singles driven now, so the charts show exactly how people are listening to their music right now. In fact, many artistes don’t even release albums anymore!”
The chart complies with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) general guideline for chart generation. Only streams that are played for more than 30 seconds are included in the chart, and while both paid tier (premium) and free tier (ad-supported) streams are included, the numbers are not cumulative, meaning the charts will only monitor what the most streamed songs are for that given week.
RIM represents almost 400 locally incorporated recording companies and businesses, all involved in the production, manufacturing and distribution of local and international sound recordings, music videos and karaoke recordings. This accounts for approximately 95% of all legitimate recordings commercially available in the music market of Malaysia.
The official RIM Charts will be issued every Friday through RIM’s website (www.rim.org.my) and social media platforms on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RecordingIndustryMY), Twitter (@malaysia_music) and Instagram (@recordingindustrymy).