2019 was another good year for the US music industry with total album equivalent consumption growing 15% year-over-year (y-o-y) to reach 785 million. This rise was bolstered by continued impressive growth in on-demand streaming (audio and video), which hit a new record high, per Nielsen’s Year-End Music Report [pdf].
On-demand streaming consumption reached 1.15 trillion audio and video streams in 2019, up 29.3% from 2018’s 887.4 billion. Audio streaming accounts for 745.7 billion of this total (up 23.8%), however the fastest growth was in video on-demand song streaming, which jumped 40.7% y-o-y to reach 401.2 billion.
This growing demand for streaming music presents a new opportunity for advertisers, as Comscore research indicates that free, ad-supported listening accounts for around three-quarters (77%) of music streaming app accounts.
The UK (83%) leads the pack when it comes to the number of music listeners that currently stream music (either free or premium services), per Nielsen’s report. In fact, while 76% of music listeners in the US stream music, this is less than other countries like Japan (81%) and Canada (79%).
Teens Lead the Way
Teens have always been keen music listeners and today’s teens aren’t any different. When it comes to streaming, Nielsen finds that teens are well ahead of the average user, with 53% share of their weekly music listening time spent with streaming, compared to 41% for the average music listener.
Historically, radio has been the top source of new music discovery for listeners. Although this may remain true, 3 in 10 (31%) teens are using social media for music discovery, according tot the report. More than half (54%) of teens also report that technology like voice assistants, smart TV and specialized headphones have made discovering new music easier.
Top Music of the Decade
As a new decade begins, here’s a look at some of the music that topped some major categories in the past decade, per Nielsen.
- Top Artist — Album Sales: Adele (23.9 million)
- Top Artist — Song Sales: Taylor Swift (75.9 million)
- Top Artist — On-Demand Streams (audio & video): Drake (36.3 billion)
- Top Song — Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!”
- Top Song — On-demand Streams (audio & video): Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road (2.5 billion streams)
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: 2019 data covers music consumption for the 12-month period from 1/2/2019 through 1/2/2020. As noted by Nielsen, “The term “total album equivalent consumption” describes the number of physical and digital albums that were sold and the total number of album equivalent songs from downloads and song streaming volume. For the sake of clarity, the definition of album equivalent consumption does not include listening to music on broadcast radio or digital radio broadcasts. Unless otherwise noted, all numbers are volume.