Music Industry

How big is streaming? Four TRILLION songs were streamed in 2023 (and tens of millions more had ZERO streams)

As more people adopt streaming as their primary way of music consumption, more songs are being streamed. And a lot of songs were streamed in 2023.

According to Luminate, the monitor of all the different kinds of music consumption, on-demand audio song streams rose 22.3% in 2023 to 4.1 trillion. If you add in on-demand video streams (YouTube, TikTok, etc.), the total number of streams comes to 7.1 trillion. That’s up from 5.3 trillion in 2023. Interesting that video streams are growing at a rate nearly three times that of audio streams.

Some other facts:

  • The US along accounted for 1.2 trillion on-demand audio streams, a lot of which were driven by Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny.
  • 436,000 tracks were streamed more than 1 million times. That’s 0.2% of the catalogue. It’s also up from 373,500 in 2022.
  • 152,000,000 songs were streamed less than 1,000 times last year. That’s 82.7% of all the songs registered through ISRC identification (i.e. most of the tracks on the streaming platforms).
  • 45,600,000 songs posted to all the platforms had zero streams. ZERO.

What about Canada? Glad you asked.

  • We streamed 145.3 billion songs on demand last year. That’s up 18.3% from 2022. It’s good for 9th place in the world.
  • But if we look at “consumption per head” (i.e. how many songs each Canadian fan streams), we’re second in the world. Canadians streamed on average 2,165 unique songs. In the US, that number is 2,804. However, Luminate also had a separate stat (“Estimated average number of annual streams per head”–and no, I’m not sure what the difference is) and placed Canada at number one on the planet with nearly 4,000, well ahead of number two America. Bottom line is that Canadians are engaging in streaming a lot.
  • Of that, 73% were catalogue, meaning songs that are more than two years old. That ticked up by a couple of percentage points.

A few more datapoints:

  • “World” music (essentially almost everything that’s not in the style of Western music) was the faster growing genre, up 26.2% to 5.7 billion streams
  • Next up was Latin streams (up 24.1% to 19.4 billion). The biggest gains were seen in regional Mexican music in the US.
  • Country music also grew pretty solidly (up 23.7% to 20.4 billion streams)
  • The biggest genre in the US is hip-hop (25.5% of all consumption). Rock was second (19.9%), pop (12%), country (8.7%) and Latin (6.8%)
  • Alt-rock was the fastest growing music sub-genre in the US with streams up over 60% to beyond 15 billion. That’s way ahead of rap (9 billion).
  • Taylor Swift alone accounted for 1.7% of the American market.
  • Gen Z is pulling back on their spend for streaming music services.

You can download a free copy of the report here. More analysis can be found here.

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 38321 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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