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The number of on-demand music streams grew by 41.6% year-over-year during the first half of 2018, according to Nielsen’s latest look at the industry [download page]. Music audio streams (+45.4%) continued to grow at a faster rate than music video streams (+34.7%), but the latter showed strong recovery after grounding to a halt this time last year.

Nielsen’s analysis indicates that both on-demand and programmed audio song streaming peaked on Fridays, whereas on-demand video song streaming was slightly higher on Saturdays.

Overall, there were almost 405 billion on-demand music streams during the first half of the year. The 42% growth on a year-over-year basis is up from last year’s 36% rate, after having declined for the couple of years prior.

Streamers continue to prefer audio to video streams, as the former now constitutes two-thirds of all streams. No wonder Spotify is now one of the most-loved brands on social media

Total Music Consumption Grows

Total music consumption rose by 18.4% year-over-year, per Nielsen, as streaming growth was enough to overcome ongoing declines in album sales.

For the first half, digital album sales dropped by almost 22%, while physical album sales fell by close to 18%. Both rates are similar to 2017’s declines.

Meanwhile, vinyl continues to be a bright spot for the physical side of the market: LP sales jumped by 19.2% year-over-year to reach 7.6 million, representing 18% of all physical album sales. About one-tenth of the first-half’s total sales (733,000) were transacted by independent retailers during the week celebrating Record Store Day (April 20-26), the highest figure yet.

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

In its analysis of leading genres, Nielsen reveals that:

  • Rock accounted for a leading 44.2% of physical album sales and 36.3% of digital album sales; while
  • R&B/Hip-Hop represented a leading 36.4% share of on-demand streams (up from 29.1% last year), topping the genres for both audio (37.5% share) and video (34.2%) streams.

Interestingly, Latin music comprised an outsized – and growing – share (19.5%) of video on-demand streams, making it the second-largest category for video streams, ahead of Pop and Rock.

Finally, Drake’s “God’s Plan” was the top song by number of on-demand video streams (466 million) and by number of on-demand audio streams (655 million).

The full report, which contains many more mid-year charts, can be downloaded here.

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