BuzzAngle Music is proud to release its first-ever yearly report, on 2016 U.S. music consumption. 2016 was another successful year in music, with overall consumption rising 4.2% over 2015, marking the second year in a row with solid growth.
The continued explosion of audio stream consumption, which increased 82.6% to 250 Billion streams, fueled this increase. Both album sales and song sales continued to decline but the transition to these new access methods has shown to provide overall growth and a sustainable business model for the future. Breaking down the tremendous streaming growth shows what is perhaps the most important stat of the year: the percentage of subscription streams rose from 62% of the total in 2015 to 76% of the total in 2016. The number of 2016 subscription streams grew over 2.25x the 2015 subscription streams amount.
In addition to providing the industry with a great business model, streaming services offer music lovers a much wider selection of music at their fingertips. In 2016, there were over 28 Million unique songs played via a streaming service compared to 7M songs that were purchased. An average day’s audio-streaming volume in 2016 (1.2B) was much larger than the entire year’s volume of song sales (734M). More music is being listened to by more people than ever before.
Here are just some of the highlights from 2016:
- Overall music consumption for the year was up 4.9% over 2015 (413.9 million project units in 2016 vs. 394.5 million album project units in 2015).
- Song Consumption for the year was up 27.2% over 2015 (2.4 million song project units in 2016 vs. 1.9 billion song project units in 2015).
- Audio streams reached a new record high of 250.7 billion, up 82.6% over 2015.
- Subscription streams grew a staggering 124.2% and accounted for 76.3% of total audio streams in 2016, up from 62.1% of total in 2015.
- There were more streams on any given day during 2016 (daily average of 1.2 billion) then there were song downloads for the entire year (734 million).
- Drake is the Artist of the Year with over 6.1 million in total album consumption units, Views is the album of the year with 3.9 million total album units and One Dance is the song of the year with 5.6 million total song consumption units.
- Over 28 million unique songs were streamed in 2016, 7.3 million unique songs were purchased and 1.4 million unique albums were purchased.
- Overall album sales were down 15.6% compared to 2015 (173.4 million in 2016 vs. 205.4 million in 2015).
- Digital album sales in 2016 were down over the previous year 19.4% (83.9 million in 2016 vs. 104.1 million in 2015).
- Physical album sales were down 11.7% (89.4 million in 2016 vs. 103.1 million in 2015). Physical album sales accounted for 51.6% of all album sales in 2016.
- Vinyl album sales were up 25.9% over 2015 while CD album sales were down 14.0%. Vinyl albums accounted for 8.0% of all physical album sales.
- Song sales (downloads) in 2016 were down 24.8% compared to 2015 (734.2 million in 2016 vs. 975.8 million in 2015).
Industry Trends – Genre
- Pop (14.6% of total) was the top genre in terms of total album consumption, edging out Hip-Hop/Rap (14.4%). Dance was the top-growing genre, gaining 35% versus 2015.
- Hip-Hop/Rap (18.2%) was the top genre in terms of total song consumption, with Pop (15.3%) second.
- Consistent with 2015, Urban songs (Hip-Hop/Rap and R&B) were the most streamed songs in 2016 accounting for 30% of all streams. 22% were from titles in the combined Rock genres (Rock, Alternative, Metal, Indie Rock, Punk, Folk) and 13% were Pop songs.
- 34% of all album sales in 2016 were from the combined Rock genres with more than 52 million sales. 16% were Urban titles, 15% were Pop albums and 13% were Country albums.
- 63% of vinyl albums sold in 2016 were from the combined Rock genres. 12% were Urban titles and 7% were Pop titles.
- 25% of Song sales in 2016 were titles from the combined Rock genres, 24% were Urban songs, 19% were Pop and 13% were Country songs.
Industry Trends – Day of Week
- Friday was the biggest day of the week for Album sales (20% of the total) as well as both digital (22%) and physical album sales (18%).
- Friday (new release day) was the day of the week that saw the largest increase in album sales compared to 2015, going from 17.7% to 20.0% of the total in 2016.
- Friday and Saturday were the largest vinyl album sales days of the week, each at 17%.
- Tuesday showed the largest drop, going from 14.0% of the total in 2015 to 12.3% in 2016.
- Vinyl album sales experienced a unit increase of 38% on Friday’s compared to 2015.
- Friday was the largest day for audio streaming activity (15.2% of the total), while Saturday was the largest day for video streams (16.1% of the total).
- Audio and Video streaming saw the largest unit growth on Saturday.
- Largest Single Days or Weeks of the Year for Music Purchasing and Listening Streaming Activity:
- The biggest single day for total on-demand streams in 2016 was Christmas Eve, December 24 – 1,588,455,616, also the biggest day for video streams, with 734,801,008 streams.
- The biggest single day for audio on-demand streams in 2016 was December 9 with 922,260,438 streams (the release of J.Cole’s album).
- J. Cole had 10 out of the top 12 songs streamed on December 9, accounting for 56.9 million streams (27 songs total) for that one day. The Weeknd was the next most streamed artist on December 9 with 19 million streams (25 songs).
- December 7 was the first time there were more than 900 million audio streams in one day (908,346,094).
- The week of November 18 was the first time that the combined audio and video streams surpassed 9 billion. The week of December 9 was the largest streaming week of the year with a combined audio/video total of 9.6 billion.
- Juju on the Beat by Zayion McCall and Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd videos were the top two videos streamed with 3.8 million and 2.9 million respectively on December 24.
- The biggest single day for album sales (and digital album sales) in 2016 was Friday April 29 with 1,215,248 albums sold (931,749 digital album sales). This was the release day of Drake’s Views, which sold 575,000 digital albums on the first day.
- Friday, December 23 was the biggest single day for physical album sales with 845,183 sales. Black Friday, November 25 was the next biggest day for physical album sales with more than 808,000 sales.
- Record Store Day, Saturday April 16 was the biggest single day for vinyl album sales with more than 97,000 sold.
- Christmas Day, Sunday December 25, was the biggest single day for song downloads with 5,072,142 song downloads.
- The most downloaded song on Christmas Day was Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd with 49,791 sales.
- On-demand audio streams during the 2016 Holiday Season were up 62% compared to 2015 with 34.3 billion streams.
- The most streamed artist during the holiday season was The Weeknd with 807.7 million streams (85% of those streams were audio streams). Drake is #2 with 606 million streams.
- Starboy by The Weeknd was the most (on-demand audio) streamed song during the holiday season with 92.3 million and Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd was the most streamed video with more than 139.2 million streams during the holiday season.
- The most streamed Christmas song during the holiday season was All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey with more than 59.2 million streams.
Top of the Charts
- Top album of 2016 is Views by Drake with 3,962,770 total project consumption units.
- Top-selling Album of the year (as well as Top Pop Album Project of 2016) is 25 by Adele with 1,550,584 album sales with Views by Drake coming in at #2 with 1,510,987 album sales.
- Top Rap/Hip Album of 2016 is Views by Drake with 3,962,770 album project units.
- Top R&B Album of 2016 is Lemonade by Beyoncé with 2,143,666 album project units.
- Top Country Album of 2016 is Traveller by Chris Stapleton with 1,371,552 album project units.
- Top Stage & Screen (Soundtrack) Album of 2016 is Hamilton with 1,322,524 album project units.
- Top Christian Album of 2016 is How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle with 376,033 album project units.
- Top Children’s Album of 2016 is Kidz Bop 31 by Kidz Bop Kids with 224,049 album project units.
- Top EDM Album of 2016 is Chainsmokers by The Chainsmokers with 637,905 album project units.
- Top-selling vinyl Album of the year is Blurryface by twenty one pilots with 49,448 sales.
- Top Digital Album of 2016 is Views by Drake with 1,301,161 digital sales.
- In 2016, 2 songs broke the 700 million-stream mark for the first time ever: Panda by Desiigner (736.8M) and Work by Rihanna
- (716.6M). The most-streamed song in 2015 was Trap Queen by Fetty Wap (612.8M).
- There were 6 songs that were streamed more than 500 million times in 2016; there were only 2 in 2015.
- The most-streamed song in 2016 was Panda by Desiigner with 736,813,212 streams.
- Panda by Desiigner was also the most-streamed video in 2016 with 420,281,844 million streams.
- There were twice as many songs that streamed more than 100 million times in 2016 compared to 2015 (226 songs in 2016 vs 111 songs in 2015).
- The top 1,000 streamed songs in 2016 accounted for 91.8 billion streams, 23% of all streams for the entire year.
- 70%+ (65+ billion) of the Top 1,000 streamed songs in 2016 were either Urban or Pop songs.
- Almost 50% of the Top 1,000 streamed songs were Urban songs (Rap/Hip-Hop at 35% and R&B at 13%) The Top Pop streamed Song of 2016 is Sorry by Justin Bieber with 479,224,787 streams.
- The Top Rock streamed song of 2016 is Stressed Out by twenty one pilots with 454,005,148 streams.
- The Top Rap/Hip-Hop streamed song of 2016 is Panda by Desiigner with 736,813,212 streams.
- The Top R&B streamed song of 2016 is Work by Rihanna with 716,636,471 streams.
- The Top Country streamed song of 2016 is H.O.L.Y. by Florida Georgia Line with 178,735,221 streams.
- The Top Latin streamed song of 2016 is Hasta el Amanecer by Nicky Jam with 115,953,507 streams.
- The Top Christian streamed song of 2016 is Monster by Skillet with 112,411,454 streams.
- The Top Electronica streamed song of 2016 is Cold Water by Major Lazer with 331,168,796 streams.
- The Top Dance streamed song of 2016 is Closer by The Chainsmokers with 616,482,817 streams.
- There were 5 songs that had more than 2 million song downloads in 2016 compared to 16 in 2015 (top 5 sold between 3-5+ million each).
- There were 36 songs that sold more than 1 million song downloads in 2016 compared to 60 songs in 2015.
- Can’t Stop The Feeling! by Justin Timberlake was the most downloaded song in 2016 with 2,488,419 sales.
- The #10 selling song in 2015 had more song downloads than the #1 song in 2016.
- 29% of the top 1,000 songs downloaded in 2016 were Pop songs (70.1M), 18% (43.8M) were Rap/Hip-Hop, 17% (40.5M) Country and 11% (27.9M) R&B songs.
- The Top 1,000 Song sales accounted for 243 million sales, 33% of all song sales for the year.
Information for this story was provided by BuzzAngle, a music analytics service.
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