Streaming drives US music consumption up 4.9% in 2016

Streaming drives US music consumption up 4.9% in 2016

American consumers confirmed their new found passion for streaming in 2016, with a record 250.7 billion audio streams tracked during the year, an 82.6% increase year-on-year, according to data measurement company BuzzAngle Music.

There were more streams on any given day during 2016 (daily average of 1.2 billion) then there were song downloads for the entire year (734 million).

"2016 was another successful year in music, with overall consumption rising 4.9% over 2015, marking the second year in a row with solid growth," said BuzzAngle CEO Jim Lidestri, who attributes this growth to the "continued explosion" of audio stream consumption. BuzzAngle only provides consumption statistics, not related market value. The full market figures for 2017 will be published in the spring by the RIAA.

Lidestri noted that "the transition to these new access methods has shown to provide overall growth and a sustainable business model for the future”. A good indication that the market value is poised to grow in 2016 (as mid-year stats by the RIAA have shown) is that there has been "tremendous streaming growth shows," according to Lisdestri, who described it as "perhaps the most important stat of the year."

Indeed, the percentage of subscription streams rose from 62% of the total in 2015 to 76% of the total in 2016 and the number of 2016 subscription streams grew over 2.25 times compared to the 2015 subscription streams amount. In 2016, there were 59,3 billion streams tracked from ad-supported services (up 14.3% from 2015) against 191,4 billion streams from subscription services (up 124.3% from 2016).

The increasing importance of streaming was highlighted by the fact that six songs were streamed more than 500 million times in 2016 against only two in 2015. In 2016, there were over 28 million unique songs played via a streaming service compared to seven million songs that were purchased. Song sales (downloads) in 2016 were down 24.8% compared to 2015 (734.2 million in 2016 against 975.8 million in 2015).

The rise in streaming is echoed by a continuous decline of both album sales and song sales. Overall album sales were down 15.6% compared to 2015 (173.4 million in 2016 vs. 205.4 million in 2015), with digital album sales down 19.4%, and physical album sales down 11.7% although vinyl album sales were up 25.9% over 2015 while CD album sales were down 14.0%.

Drake's Views is the year's top album with 3,962,770 total project consumption units, aggregating 1,510,987 album sales, including 1,301,161 digital sales, and streams consumption. Adele's 25 was the overall best-selling album of the year with 1,550,584 album sales.

Two songs broke the 700 million-stream mark for the first time ever: Panda by Desiigner (736.8 million), and Work by Rihanna (716.6 million). The most-streamed song in 2015 was Trap Queen by Fetty Wap (612.8 million). Overall, there were twice as many tracks that streamed more than 100 million times in 2016 (226 songs) compared to 2015 (111 songs).

The top 1,000 streamed songs in 2016 accounted for 91.8 billion streams, or 23% of all streams for the entire year, a sign showing that the streaming market is on a limited number of tracks.

Artists who died in 2016 -- Prince, David Bowie, Merle  Haggard , Joey + Rory, Juan Gabriel, Leonard  Cohen, Glenn Frey/Eagles , Maurice White/ Earth, Wind & Fire and  George Michael -- accounted for a combined total of more than 5.3 million album sales, 9.4 million songs downloaded and 1.7 billion songs streamed.

The full report BuzzAngle is available here:

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