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The number of on-demand music streams grew by 36.4% year-over-year during the first half of 2017, according to Nielsen’s latest look at the industry [download page]. That was largely powered by a 62% jump in audio streams, as video streaming growth has ground to a halt, with a modest 5% increase.

Overall, there were almost 285 billion on-demand music streams during the first half of the year. The 36% growth is down from 59% in H1 2016 and 92% the year prior.

While the growth in on-demand audio streams is also slowing, it hasn’t fallen at the same rate as video streams.

As a result, the composition of streams has changed. Whereas just 2 years ago, videos accounted for 57% of music streams, they’re now down to just 35% share.

Total Consumption Up

Total music consumption rose by 8.1% year-over-year, per Nielsen, as streaming growth was enough to overcome continued declines in album sales.

For the first half, digital album sales dropped by almost 20%, while physical album sales fell by 17%.

Rock Powers Album Sales; R&B/Hip-Hop Fuels Streaming

In its analysis of leading genres, Nielsen reveals that:

  • Rock accounted for a leading 42.7% of physical album sales and 36.7% of digital album sales; while
  • R&B/Hip-Hop represented a leading 29.1% share of on-demand streams, leading for both audio (30.3% share) and video (26.9%) streams.

Notably, Latin music comprised an outsized 15.2% of video on-demand streams. That compares with just 3.9% of audio on-demand streams and 2.6% of digital song sales.

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” narrowly enjoyed the most on-demand audio and video streams, and it was also the song with the most digital sales.

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