Streaming Is Officially The No. 1 Way Americans Listen To Music
The direction of the industry has been clear for a while, but now it's official: a year-end report by Nielsen has found that in 2016, streaming became the primary way that fans consume music.
According to Pitchfork, the report found that there were more than 251 billion streams in 2016, marking a 76 percent increase and 38 percent of all music consumption. Also, for the first time, total streaming has passed total digital sales of digital albums and digital track equivalents. And on an average day in 2016, there were more streams than song downloads: there were an average of 1.2 billion streams per day, compared to 734 million downloads for the whole year.
Streaming has been the preferred form of consumption for hip-hop and R&B listeners, with those making up 22 percent of all audio consumption but 28 percent of on-demand streams. That was shown in how artists like Kanye West, Drake, Rihanna, Frank Ocean, and others signed exclusive deals with streaming services to release their music. By contrast, rock music is the most popular musical genre as a whole with 29 percent of the market, but only takes up 20 percent of streams.
Nielsen also reported that Drake was the most streamed artist of 2016, with 5.4 billion on-demand streams, and over 3 billion of them coming from his LP Views, which was the year's most streamed album. Adele's 25 was the second most-streamed album with 457 million, but also had 1.731 million in sales.