In a huge few days for the UK music industry, the Official Albums Chart counts audio streams for the first time in the same week as the 2015 BRIT Awards takes place at London’s O2 Arena.

The Mastercard British Album category features three artists vying to be Number 1 album this week, all of whom are leading the way in streaming.

The chart change is supported by the breadth of the British music industry and begins this week in time to feel the BRIT Awards effect. The first Official Albums Chart Top 100 incorporating audio streams will be published on Sunday 1 March 2015.

A huge volume of streams are delivered as a result of music fans listening to albums. Mastercard British Album nominees Ed Sheeran’s X album has generated more than 200 million track streams, Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour over 140 million track streams and George Ezra’s Wanted On Voyage 70 million streams.

All three artists are currently riding high in the Top 5 of the Official Charts Company-compiled Albums Chart and all are performing at The BRIT Awards 2015 on Wednesday February 25th at The O2 Arena, the show will also be shown on ITV 1 at 8pm.

The Brits nominees will compete with last week’s number one, Imagine Dragons’ Smoke & Mirrors, together with other hit releases If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late by Drake and Hozier’s eponymous album.

With album sales traditionally receiving a boost from the BRITS effect, these three are set to fight it out at the top of the new Albums Chart. The millions of viewers witnessing the artists’ performances on television will now be able to help their favourites to the top of the charts with streaming, alongside buying physical copies and downloading,

Streams were successfully added to the UK’s Official Singles Chart in July 2014, and streams will be added to the Official Albums Chart using a similar methodology.

The streaming data which will count towards the Official Albums Chart represents on-demand plays via services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Google Play, O2 Tracks (Musicqubed), Rara, Rdio and XBox Music, all members of the Entertainment Retailers Association, co-owner of the Official Charts Company – along with record labels association the BPI.

Over the past 12 months, the number of songs streamed by fans via audio streaming services in the UK has grown from 25 million a day in January 2014 to 50 million a day in January 2015. In 2014, the total number of audio streams served to music fans was just under 15 billion.

The industry-backed move comes eight months after audio streaming first counted towards the Official Singles Chart for the first time, from the beginning of July 2014.

The Official Albums Chart has reflected the UK’s biggest albums every week since the first chart was published by Record Mirror 59 years ago – with Frank Sinatra’s Songs For Swinging Lovers the first number one in Summer 1956. Since then, the chart has reflected Number 1s by artists as wide ranging as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Queen, Abba, Pink Floyd, The Smiths, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, New Order, Oasis, Take That, Eminem, Rihanna and Adele.