Indie Music

2018 On-Demand Music Streams +42%, Paid Streams +50% In Q4 [BuzzAngle Music]

BuzzAngle Music Charts   BuzzAngle Music[UPDATED] On-demand audio streams set a record high of 534.6 billion in the US in 2018, up 42% over the previous year, according to the BuzzAngle Music Industry Year End Report.  But the best news for artists and labels came thanks to 50% growth in streams by paid subscribers. Those 157.4 billion higher paying subscription streams now account for 85% of all on-demand audio, according to the respected music data monitoring service.

Competing formats continued their rapid decline.   

In 2018, was not a single song broke one million in download sales.  In 2017, there were 14 songs million selling songs, in 2016 36 and in 2015 there were 60. Even vinyl album sales were up just 12% in 2018,  after seeing 20% growth in both 2017 and 2016.

For the third year in a row, Hip-Hop/Rap was the top genre in terms of total song consumption at 24.7%, up from 20.9% in 2017, with Pop second at 19% and Rock at 12%.


Consumption Highlights

  • Audio on-demand streams set a new record high of 534.6 billion, up 42% over 2017.  The previous record was set in 2017 with 376.9 billion streams.
  • Total on-demand streams set a new high in 2018 with 809.5 billion streams, up 35% over the previous record in 2017 (598 billion).
  • During the 4th quarter of 2018, subscription streams accounted for 85% of all on-demand audio streams (157.4 billion).
  • Subscription streams grew 50% during the 4th quarter of 2018 and accounted for 85% of total audio streams for the quarter. In 2017, subscription streams were up 57% over 2016.
  • Song consumption in 2018 reached a new high of 5.8 billion, up 27% over 2017.
  • Vinyl album sales were up 12% in 2018 after seeing a 20% growth in 2017 over 2016.  Vinyl album sales accounted for 13.7% of all physical album sales, up from 10% in 2017 and 8% in 2016.
  • There were only nine songs that that were streamed more than 500 million times in 2018, compared to 16 in 2017, six in 2016 and two in 2015.
  • There were 417 songs that streamed more than 100 million times in 2018, compared to 383 songs in 2017, 226 songs in 2016 and 111 songs in 2015.
  • The top 1,000 streamed songs in 2018 accounted for 121.8 billion streams, 122.2 billion in 2017, 91.8 billion in 2016.
  • In 2017 were two songs that had more than two million song downloads, in 2016 there were five and 16 in 2015. In 2018 there was not a single song that broke one million sales. In 2017, there were only 14 songs that sold more than one million song downloads compared to 36 in 2016 and 60 songs in 2015.
  • The top 1,000 song sales accounted for 92.3 million sales (23% of all song sales); which is down drastically from 170.9 million sales in 2017 (a drop of 53%).
  • For the second straight year, Drake took the three largest awards, Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Scorpion, and Song of the Year, God’s Plan.

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Industry Trends – Genre

  • The Hip-Hop/Rap genre had the largest genre-share of total album consumption, 21.7% up from 17.5% in 2017. Pop and Rock followed with 20.1% and 14% respectively.
  • For the third year in a row, Hip-Hop/Rap was the top genre in terms of total song consumption, 24.7% up from 20.9% in 2017, with Pop second at 19% share followed by Rock at 12%.
  • For the past three years, Urban songs (Hip-Hop/Rap and R&B) were the most streamed songs among all genres.  In 2018 they accounted for 36% of all on-demand streams, up from 32% in 2017. 19.3% were from Pop titles, up from 15.6% in 2017.
  • Streaming of titles in the Rock genre (including Rock, Alternative, Metal, Indie Rock, Punk) went from 19% in 2017 down to 11% in 2018.  11% were Latin songs.
  • Album titles from the Rock & Pop genres each accounted for 26% of all album sales in 2018.  In 2017, they accounted for 29% and 19.7% respectively.  In addition, 13% of all album sales were Country albums and 12% were Urban albums (Hip-Hop/Rap and R&B).
  • Just three years ago more than 65% of all vinyl album sales fell into the Rock genre.  In 2018, 42% of vinyl albums sold were from the Rock genre, down from 54% in 2017.  26% were Pop titles up from 14% in 2017 and 14.4% were Urban titles.
  • 26% of song sales in 2018 were titles from the Pop genre, 25% were Urban songs, and Rock and Country songs each accounted for 15% of song sales.
  • 92% of Hip-Hop/Rap’s total consumption is from on-demand streams while only 3.7% is from album sales. 
  • Latin is the genre most dominated by streaming.  95% of total Latin consumption comes from on-demand streaming activity.


Industry Trends – Release Period

  • Deep Catalog titles, those released more than three years ago, accounted for 55% of all album sales in 2018, up from 51% in 2017.
  • For vinyl sales, deep catalog titles continue to be the majority of sales, climbing to 66% and for video streams it is 57%.
  • Nearly two out of every three songs streamed in 2018 were titles released more than 18 months ago and 50% of all total on-demand streams were released more than three years ago.
  • New titles, less than eight weeks old, represented 11% of all streams, 19% of album sales, down slightly from 21% in 2017 and 23% of digital album sales.

Title Distribution

  • In 2018, the top 500 titles were responsible for greater than 30% of all album sales, 11% of all audio streams and 18% of all video streams.
  • The top 50 albums in 2018 accounted for 11% of all album sales, while less than 1% (0.7%) of all audio streams and 5% of all video streams came from the top 50 titles.
  • There were more than 1.2 million album titles that were purchased at least once in 2018, down from 1.4 million in 2017.
  • In 2018, there were 496,200 song titles that were streamed through a video streaming service, down slightly from 504,215 in 2017.


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