In 2016, streaming accounted for more than 50 percent of U.S. music revenues
for the first time. Figures released in Nielsen’s latest report on the U.S. music industry
underline once again how important streaming has become to the music industry in the few years since its emergence.
In 2017, Nielsen counted 618 billion on-demand music streams (incl. video and audio streams) in the United States. That equates to more than 400 million albums sold, assuming that 1,500 streams are equivalent to buying one album. As our chart illustrates, streaming accounts for nearly 65 percent of music consumption in the U.S. when counted this way, up from 51 percent in 2016.
The most streamed song of the past twelve months was "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, which amassed a whopping 1.3 billion billion streams. The global smash hit was also the most downloaded song of 2017 with 2.7 million downloads and tied the record for the most weeks at No.1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.