These Artists Had the Biggest Streaming Bumps After Verzuz Battles


A mid-year Nielsen study dedicated a small section to the Verzuz effect.

On Thursday, Nielsen Music and MRC Data released its United States Midyear Report for the first half of 2020. The study analyzed the current state of the music industry, also breaking down effects before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. One response to the pandemic, however, has breathed new life into artists’ streaming statistics: Swizz Beatz and Timbaland‘s Verzuz series.

The report reveals that total audio consumption has grown nearly 10 percent over the prior year. In fact, the music industry was surging before the virus effectively put the industry on pause.

According to the report, the first installment peaked with around 22,000 viewers. The-Dream and Sean Garrett’s battle peaked around 46,000. DJ Premier and RZA clocked in at 849,000. Teddy Riley and Babyface’s battle pulled in over 500,000 viewers. Consistently, the report says, “Verzuz battles gave participants’ tracks a boost at streaming services.”

To calculate the sheer increase, Nielsen tracked the competing artists’ combined catalog streams from two days before the battle compared to the day after the battle.

Erykah Badu and Jill Scott‘s battle on May 9 drew the largest increase at a 217% jump. Right behind them, with a 216% increase, were Beenie Man and Bounty Killer on May 24. Babyface and Teddy Riley‘s battle raised their streaming stats by 90%. Nelly and Ludacris’ May 16 battle raised their combined streams 30%.

Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have yet to announce the next round of Verzuz battles. In the last week, T.I. has publicly campaigned to square off against names like 50 Cent and Jay-Z.

Torry Threadcraft

Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and culture. You can find his daily ramblings and culinary takes at @dreadcraft.

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Torry Threadcraft

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