Music streaming in the United States reached a major milestone in 2016 when it accounted for more than 50 percent of U.S. music revenues
for the first time. Figures released in Nielsen’s 2019 Mid-Year Music Report
show how important streaming has become to the music industry in the few years since its emergence, even though growth is not as strong as it used to be.
In the first six months of 2019, Nielsen counted more than 500 billion on-demand music streams (incl. video and audio streams) in the United States. That equates to more than 350 million albums sold, assuming that 1,500 streams are equivalent to buying one album. As our chart illustrates, streaming now accounts for 78 percent of music consumption in the U.S. when compared to physical and digital music sales. In the first half of 2018, that number was 75 percent, prompting Nielsen analysts to conclude that "streaming's window is beginning to close", caused in part by more and more major artist deciding to release albums exclusive to certain streaming platforms or only in physical copy.