Audio streaming growth fell by 5% in the United States in the first half of 2019

The party’s definitely not over – but it might be showing its very first signs of winding down.

According to MBW’s calculations, growth in audio on-demand streaming volume in the United States fell slightly in the first half of this year, both in percentage terms and real terms.

New mid-year Nielsen Music data published today (June 27) shows that the US market saw 333.5bn total on-demand audio streams on services like Spotify and Apple Music in the 24 weeks from Jan 4 to June 20, 2019.

That was up 27.8%, or 72.5bn, on the 261.0bn audio streams registered in the States in the equivalent period of 2018.

However, looking further back at Nielsen’s data shows how this annual growth has actually reduced.

The 261.0bn audio streams clocked up in the first half of last year was an increase of 76.6bn, or 41.5%, on H1 2017’s equivalent haul (184.4bn).

(See below for the relevant section from Nielsen Music’s Mid-Year reports over the past three years. Nielsen has restated its H1 2018 number (261.0bn) which was originally published as 268.2bn last year – MBW has factored this change into our calculations.)

In other words, the annual jump in total US audio stream volume in H1 2019 vs. H1 2018 was over 4bn streams smaller than the equivalent growth in H1 2018 vs. H1 2017.

Ergo, the growth number this year (72.5bn) is down 5.4% on the growth number from last year (76.6bn).

There was stronger growth, according to Nielsen Music’s new Mid-Year Report, when it came to on-demand video streams in the US, which increased by 39.6% year-on-year to 174.2bn in H1 2019.

Overall on-demand streams, encompassing both audio and video, were up 31.6% year-on-year in H1 2019 to 507.7bn.

In H1 2018, these total streams grew by 35.4% year-on-year to 385.7bn. (The latter number has been restated by Nielsen in its H1 2019 report; our percentage calculation reflects this).

Nielsen’s new Mid-Year Report also reveals that physical album sales fell 15.1% year-on-year in H1 2019, down to 32.5m, while digital album sales (downloads) dropped 24.4m to 19.1m.

Digital track sales fell 25.6% year-on-year to 154.1m.

The biggest track in the first half of the year in the United States, according to Nielsen, was Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road (pictured), which attracted more than 596m on-demand audio streams in the period.

You can download Nielsen Music’s Mid-Year 2019 Report through here.Music Business Worldwide

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