Music Business

Music Streams Passed 1.1 Trillion In 2019, 85% Of All U.S. Consumption

85% of all U.S. music consumption is via streaming according to a new BuzzAngle Music report. Overall streaming activity in the United States during 2019 broke the 1.1 trillion last year.

A new survey from Neilson Music offered similar stats (more here). Read the full BuzzAngle report here.

2019 U.S. Consumption Highlights [BuzzAngle]

  • On-Demand Streams broke the 1 Trillion mark in 2019 (for the first time ever) with 1,010,000,000 streams, an increase of 25% over 2018. The previous high was set in 2018 with 809.5 billion streams.
  • Audio on-demand streams also set a new record high again with 705 billion streams, up 32% over 2018’s 534.6 billion audio streams.
  • On-Demand Streams in 2019 accounted for 85% of all music consumption in the United States, that’s a 7.6 point jump from 2018 (77%).
  • Overall streaming activity in the United States during 2019 broke the 1.1 trillion mark; that includes on-demand and programmed streams.
  • Overall Album consumption in 2019 was up 13.5% with 795.9 million album consumption unit sales compared to 2018. (album sales + song sales/10 + on-demand streams/1500)
  • Overall Song consumption (song sales + on-demand streams/150) in 2019 jumped to a new high of 7 billion, up 21% over 2018.
  • Post Malone dethrones Drake in 2019 and takes two of the three largest awards for the year, Artist of the Year (4.4 million album consumption units) and Album of the Year for Hollywood’s Bleeding (2.7 million album consumption units).
  • Post Malone was the most streamed artist in 2019 with 6.7 billion on-demand streams in 2019. Drake comes in second with 6.3 billion streams followed by Billie Eilish with 5 billion streams.
  • Hollywood’s Bleeding by Post Malone was the biggest selling album project in 2019 with 2.0 million sales.
  • “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X was the most consumed song in 2019 with more than 7.8 million song project sales. Post Malone and Swae Lee’s song “Sunflower” followed with more than 5.6 million song project sales.
  • Drake was the most streamed artist over the past five years with more than 28 billion on-demand streams. Post Malone was #2 with 15.9 billion on-demand streams followed by Eminem with 12.5 billion on-demand streams.

Industry Trends – Streaming Activity

  • Post Malone was the most streamed artist in 2019 with 6.7 billion on-demand streams in 2019. Drake comes in second with 6.3 billion streams followed by Billie Eilish with 5 billion streams.
  • Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding was the most streamed album in 2019 with more than 3.9 billion streams from songs off the album.
  • Two songs in 2019 broke the 1 Billion on-demand streaming thresholds. “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X was streamed more than 1.8 billion times (sets a new annual record) and “Sunflower” by Post Malone & Swae Lee had 1.2 billion streams.
  • In 2018, “God’s Plan” by Drake was the biggest on-demand streamed song with 1.5 billion streams.
  • “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X was also the most streamed song for Audio and Video on-demand streams in 2019; 963.1 million and 813.6 million respectively; as well as for Song Sales (1.4 million)
  • Billie Eilish is the most streamed Female artist in 2019 with 5 billion streams with Ariana Grande right on her heels with 4.98 billion on-demand streams.
  • In 2019, there were 31 songs that were streamed more than 500 million times compared to 21 songs in 2018. (16 in 2017, six in 2016 and two in 2015)
  • In 2019, there were 897 songs that were streamed more than 100 million times; which is significantly higher than the 525 songs in 2018. (383 songs in 2017, 226 songs in 2016 and 111 songs in 2015)
  • The top 1,000 streamed songs in 2019 accounted for 183.5 billion streams; an increase of 33% from 2018 (138.4 billion in 2018, 122.2 billion in 2017, 91.8 billion in 2016.

Industry Trends – Album Sales

  • Overall album sales in 2019 were down 23% after being down 18% in 2018. Digital album sales in 2019 saw the largest decline; down 26.6% compared to 2018.
  • Album Sales accounted for 12% of all music consumed in the United States in 2019; down from 17% in 2018.
  • 2019 was another double digit growth year for Vinyl album sales; LP album sales were up 10.5% in 2019.
  • Vinyl album sales accounted for 19.2% of all physical album sales, up 5.4 points over 2018 (13.7%). That jump is the biggest annual jump in the past 5 years.
  • In 2019, 47% of all physical album sales happened online via an e-commerce store.
  • There were a total of 14 albums that had 1 million or more album project sales compared to 10 albums in 2018.
  • In 2019, only one album broke the 1 million pure album sales mark; Lover by Taylor Swift (1.1 million).
  • The biggest selling vinyl album in 2019 was When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish with more than 113,000 sales.
  • In 2019, The Beatles was the artist with the most vinyl sales with more than 244,000 vinyl album sales.

Industry Trends – Song Sales

  • Song sales in 2019 were down for the 5th consecutive year and reached an all-time low of 295.7 million; which is down 26% over song sales in 2018.
  • There was only one song that had more than 1 million song sales in 2019; “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X (1.4 million).
  • 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 66 million sales, down 28% over 2018 song sales of 92.3 million. (170.9 million sales in 2017). The top 1,000 song sales in 2019 once again accounted for 22% of all song sales for the year.

Neilson offered these key year-end insights.

Artists who Broke Through

2019 was a big year for Post Malone, Billie Eilish, and Lizzo, who all broke records and bucked industry standards. Post Malone ruled the year with two No. 1 Hot 100 singles (“Sunflower” and “Circles”) and claimed the year’s most popular and top-streamed album, Hollywood’s Bleeding. That titlecollected 365.4 million on-demand audio streams for its songs in its first week, the year’s biggest streaming week for any album. “Sunflower” (nearly 1.5 billion on-demand streams), “Wow.” (918 million on-demand streams) and “Circles” (426 million on-demand streams) are three of the biggest hits from the album, and rank as the Nos. 2, 3 and 26 most-consumed songs of the year, respectively.

Billie Eilish, who turned 18 in December, became the youngest-ever artist to be named Billboard’s Woman of the Year as well as earn nominations in all of the Grammys’ top four categories. She made her awards show debut with a standout performance at November’s American Music Awards.  When her debut full-length album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, debuted it earned 313,000 equivalent units in its first week, making it the second-largest debut week for a female in 2019.

2019 was a breakout year for Lizzo as well. The 31-year-old singer/songwriter/flutist achieved success after many years trying to break through.  Undeniably, having “Truth Hurts” featured in the Netflix romantic comedy “Someone Great” propelled her to stardom. The 2017 single saw a 797% spike in consumption the week ending April 25, following the movie’s premiere on Netflix. The song finished the year with 736 million streams, and tied Iggy Azalea’s record for most weeks (seven) spent at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a rap song by a female artist.

K-Pop Won’t Stop: Surprising U.S. Fan Insights

K-Pop continued its global domination in 2019 with such acts as BTS, BLACKPINK, NCT 127 and SuperM. The latter took the U.S. by storm when the group’s 7-track project The 1st Mini Album became the fourth Korean-language album to top the Billboard 200 with 168,000 first week equivalent album units in October. 

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