Music Industry

Current songs rule the streaming charts, but older songs are catching up

It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of consumer behaviour when it comes to streaming.

It’s no surprise that the streaming charts are dominated by current songs as people binge on the newest and hottest songs. The industry itself is obsessed with the shiny and new.

But as more of us adopt streaming as the source of our music, older songs–catalogue music–is on the uptick.

Young people, those caught up in today’s hits, were the early adopters of streaming. Stats now show that older folk are streaming more. In fact, 30% of all streams are of songs released before 2010. Spotify says 40% of songs are streamed more in their second year than in their first.

The BBC reports on BPI data which broke down the most-streamed songs by decade. The results are…interesting. Keep in mind that these stats reflect the listening habits of Britons.

1940s: “White Christmas,” Bing Crosby
1950s: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee
1960s: “I Want You Back,” The Jackson t
1970s: “September,” Earth Wind & Fire
1980s: “Last Christmas,” Wham
1990s: “Wonderwall,” Oasis
2000s: “Mr. Brightside,” Killers
2010s: “Shape of You,” Ed Sheeran (at least so far)

The dominance of Christmas songs shouldn’t be surprising at this point. Think about how many holiday playlists must have been spun in the six weeks leading up to December 25. Digging deeper, though, we find songs like “No Scrubs” by TLC, “My Girl” by The Temptations, and Toto’s “Africa” is being streamed millions of times per year.

More from the BBC:

Research shows that the music of your teenage years is hard-wired into your brain.

There’s even something called the “reminiscence bump” – which shows children have superior recognition for songs that date to their parents’ and grandparents’ teenage years.

Keep reading.



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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