One day of music streaming exceeded total 2016 downloads in the U.S.

Music listening in the United States appears to be thriving – with music streaming pushing ahead as the big earner. In one average day in 2016, Americans listened to more songs via music streaming than they downloaded over the whole year.

“More music is being listened to by more people than ever before,” concludes a music industry report from data analysis company BuzzAngle Music.

music streaming - woman with headphones pixabay-693107Streaming music is far more popular than downloading in the United States. Image: pixabay-693107

The report shows the U.S. music industry enjoyed a healthy growth in 2016, with overall consumption 4.2 percent up on 2015.

It also shows that music streaming fuelled the increase – reaching a record high of 250.7 billion audio streams, up 82.6 percent on 2015 – while physical song and album sales continued to decline.

Music streaming is a form of audio streaming – where you select and listen to songs or audio tracks without having to download files of different formats.

Services such as Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, Google Music, and Apple Music offer libraries of millions of songs that listeners can select in many different ways – such as ready-made playlists, genre channels, albums, and individual tracks – and play them on different devices as if listening to broadcast.

There are two main levels of service: ad-supported and subscription (no ads).

Sustainable model

The transition toward music streaming – with subscription streams rising from 62 percent of total streams in 2015 to 76 percent in 2016 – suggests this is a sustainable model for the future, notes the new report.

Compared to buying songs as downloads or on physical media, music streaming gives listeners access to a much wider selection of music at their fingertips.

This is reflected in the fact that in 2016 in the U.S., over 28 million unique songs were played via a streaming service compared to 7 million purchased songs.

The amount of music Americans streamed in an average day in 2016 (1.2 billion songs) far exceeded the total volume downloaded over the whole year (734 million songs).

Drake – artist most consumed by Americans in 2016

In terms of artists, Americans consumed more Drake than any other in 2016 – over 6.1 million album units (his “Views” album was album of the year with 3.9 million total album units consumed, and his “One Dance” was song of the year with 5.6 total song units consumed).

Other highlights from the comprehensive report reveal that in 2016 in the U.S.:

– 27.2 percent more songs were consumed than in 2015
– Pop (14.6 percent of total) was the top genre in terms of total album consumption
– Hip-Hop/Rap (18.2 percent) was the top genre in terms of total song consumption
– new releases (less than 8 weeks old) accounted for 8.5 percent of audio streams, but more than 20 percent of album sales
– Friday was busiest day of week for streaming (15.2 percent of total)

The full 67-page report is available as a PDF download.