How Big is Streaming in the US? It’s Basically Destroying Everything Else

BuzzAngle Music loves to dive into the stats generated by music commerce. Where we used to measure success by the number records sold, today’s metrics are a lot different. Streaming is where it’s at.  Here are BuzzAngle’s mid-year numbers for the American market.

First, the good news.

  • Audio streams reached 179.8 billion, up 58.5% over 2016 YTD
  • Subscription streams grew 69.3% and accounted for 78.6% of total audio streams in 2017 YTD, up from 73.6% in 2016 YTD.
  • Vinyl album sales were up 20.4% over 2016 YTD.
  • Vinyl albums accounted for 4.9% of all physical album sales, up from 3.5% in 2016 YTD.

Now, the bad news.

  • Overall album sales were down 13.9% compared to 2016 YTD (74.0 million in 2017 YTD vs. 86.0 million in 2016 YTD
  • Physical album sales were down 2.1% (39.6 million in 2017 YTD vs. 40.4 million in 2016 YTD). Physical album sales accounted for 53.4% of all album sales in 2017 YTD, up from 46.9% over 2016 YTD.
  • Digital album sales in 2017 YTD were down 24.3% over the previous year (34.5 million in 2017 YTD vs. 45.6 million in 2016 YTD).
  • Digital album sales accounted for 46.6% of all album sales in 2017 YTD, down from 53.0% over 2016 YTD.
  • CD album sales were down 3.9%.
  • Song sales (downloads) in 2017 YTD were down 23.8% compared to 2016 YTD (313.3 million in 2017 YTD vs. 410.9 million in 2016 YTD)

Here’s how the US market breaks down by genre:

  • Hip-Hop/Rap – 20.6% of the market
    Pop – 14.3%
    R&B – 9.3%
    Latin – 8.5%
    Country – 8.0%
    Rock – 7.3%
    Alternative – 5.8%
    Indie Rock – 4.4%
    Dance – 2.9%
    Metal – 2.7%

Additional quick analysis can be found here. Read the full report here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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