Blockbuster artists increased their share of streaming cash in 2015


The power of the blockbuster artist appears to be mutating in the streaming age.

The Top 10 most popular albums in the US last year increased their share of total on-demand audio streaming consumption by almost 1%.

This stat is based on all tracks from the biggest LPs in the territory across all formats.

The finding is made all the more remarkable when you consider that the biggest two albums of the year were Adele’s 25 and Taylor Swift’s 1989 – both held off the world’s biggest audio streaming service, Spotify.

According to MBW analysis of Nielsen stats, the Top 10 artist records of 2015 claimed 3.28% of total on-demand audio streaming consumption in 2015, with 4.75bn streams between them.

Bear in mind that this percentage figure only represents tracks from the latest albums of these artists – their catalogue is not included.

2015 saw 144.9bn audio streams played in the US in total, up 83.1% from 2014’s 79.1bn.

Of that 79.1bn, tracks from Billboard/Nielsen’s Top 10 albums claimed 1.87bn streams in 2014, or 2.36%.

In other words, despite the number of total on-demand audio streams close to doubling across the US in 2015 – boosted by the arrival of Apple Music – blockbuster artists took a bigger share than they did the year before.

That’s a bigger share of the consumption – and a bigger share of the resultant money.


2014 was the first year in which Nielsen began to break down what the biggest albums in the US clocked up in total on on-demand audio streaming services, so we can’t go further back with the analysis.

You can see how the Top 10 albums (across all consumption options) compared in 2014 and 2015 below – you’re looking at the right-hand column.

These are not even the biggest albums on streaming services – with The Weeknd, Drake and Justin Bieber (pictured) seeing most success on the likes of Spotify and Apple Music last year.

(Note how Taylor Swift’s Spotify hold-out from Spotify greatly affects her number, while Adele’s 2015 figures are solely from one track – Hello.)

Both Top 10s are exclusively filled with major label-distributed records in the US market.


2014 Billboard listMusic Business Worldwide

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