In 2016, streaming accounted for more than 50 percent of U.S. music revenues for the first time. Figures released in Nielsen’s U.S. Music Mid-Year Report this week, underline once again how important streaming has become to the music industry in the few years since its emergence.
In the first six months of 2017, Nielsen counted 284.7 billion on-demand music streams (incl. video and audio streams). That equates to roughly 190 million albums sold assuming that 1,500 streams are equivalent to buying one album. As our chart illustrates, streaming accounts for more than 60 percent of music consumption when counted this way, up from 50 percent in the first half of 2016.
The most streamed song in the first six months of 2017 was Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You with a whopping 690 million streams. Nearly half of those streams were video streams, illustrating how important video platforms (YouTube in particular) have become to today’s music consumer.