Streams down despite big releases during coronavirus lockdown

Streams down despite big releases during coronavirus lockdown

Dua Lipa broke some Spotify records with sophomore album Future Nostalgia, which became the most streamed album in a single day by a UK female artist. 

Despite narrowly missing No.1, the Warner Records artist achieved that feat in the UK, as well as the US and globally. It sets the album up for a strong second week when it could claim the No.1 position.

However, the singer’s 14,882 week one streaming-equivalent sales (Official Charts Company) were a high point amid an overall decline in audio streams for the chart week ending April 3. Audio streams of 2,096,639,941 represented a 1.2% week-on-week decline during the coronavirus lockdown.

While video streams were up 3% week-on-week, the overall result for sales and streams was a 0.9% decline on the previous seven days. A rise in download sales helped reduce the impact of the streaming dip.

In the first full week of the lockdown ending March 26, audio streams were flat (down 0.4% week-on-week). The increasing slide in streams will have the industry watching for the continuing Covid-19 impact on the market.

The release schedule has been suddenly transformed, which means less new music, while shops, bars and gyms are no longer contributing to streaming volumes. Although last week featured new releases from Dua Lipa, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Pearl Jam and Skepta, Chip and Young Adz, the line-up is noticeably lighter this week.

However, there’s some good news with physical artist album sales edging up 0.9% week-on-week to 155,084 units. It suggests the 40.9% slump in volumes in the previous week was a dramatic one-off effect resulting from the retail shutdown. D2C sales from No.1 act 5 Seconds Of Summer (28,961 physical sales) lifted the weekly volume, while indies and HMV have ramped up their mail order service.

But a big fall in compilations meant that physical sales represented just 11.5% of the albums market last week, compared to 12.4% in the prior week and 19.4% two weeks ago.

Downloads were the main beneficiary last week – artist albums on download increased sales by 29.7% week-on-week at 91,324. The share of albums for downloads was 6.8%, compared to 4.3% a fortnight ago.

Physical compilation sales slumped by 27.7% week-on-week, though the sales blow was softened by a 50.7% week-on-week increase in compilations downloads.

Overall albums sales increased by 6.1%, while SEA-2 still managed to edge up by 1.6% despite the streaming dip. The all albums market was up by 2.4% last week.

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author twitter FOLLOW Andre Paine

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