Nielsen confirms YouTube has fallen behind audio streaming in the US

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Earlier this week, MBW revealed that the US record industry had undergone a historic transformation: in the first half of this year, more music streams took place on audio platforms than video platforms for the first time on record.

In plain English, 55% of on-demand streaming plays were hosted by the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and TIDAL – while 45% were hosted by YouTube and Vevo.

The stats from market monitor BuzzAngle: audio streaming platforms saw 114.23bn streams in the six months with video platforms on 95.17bn.


Now Nielsen Music has released its mid-year report on the US music market, and the good news for Spotify and co. is that the data is broadly in line with BuzzAngle’s.

According to Nielsen, audio streaming platforms saw 113.6bn streams in the six months with video platforms on 95.3bn.

Video streams grew just 28.6% year-on-year, according to the data, with audio streams up 97.4%.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 11.48.28Other key takeaways from Nielsen’s report, which you can read in full through here:

  • Album sales, across CD, digital and LP/vinyl, were down 13.6% to 100.3m in the period;
  • Digital albums were the hardest hit, down 18.4% to 43.8m;
  • Digital track sales plummeted by 23.9% to 404.3m;
  • Overall streams were up 58.7% to 208.9bn;
  • 3 albums have sold over 1 Million units so far this year (Adele’s 25, Drake’s Views and Beyonce’s Lemonade), while there was only one million seller at this time last year (Taylor Swift’s 1989).

Overall, Nielsen is upbeat: its Overall Album Consumption metric, which folds in download and streaming equivalents, says that sales in the first half of 2016 were up 8.9%.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.06.50

 Music Business Worldwide

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  • ilexx

    Ok, it sounds good that consumption is up but shouldn’t we be alarmed somewhat that the dip in album downloads and single sales have plummeted at this rate?

    I understand that streaming is going to be the future (I’m a paid subscriber of Google Play Music and a Tidal enthusiast) but I’ve always been worried that it will cannibalize sales and that streaming money will not offset it. This seems like a reasonable fear.

    It looks like that could be happening already but what I’m unsure about is what these streaming numbers represent in terms of dollars coming back to the music industry. Based on the numbers if seen about payouts per stream, it seems impossible for one person to consume enough music through streaming an album to offset the purchase of that album. Maybe my math is off, I’m not sure.

    Will the loss of upfront money from sales will be an issue on cash flow in the long-term?

    • ftoftdaf

      You’re right, that’s the way it’s going. But the world will see what time it is, don’t worry.

  • Just one more reason that Google should buy Spotify.

    • bboycult

      i think that would be counter productive. You Tube is a giant in its own right. and be clear, number do lie. because there are more streams, that does NOT necessarily equate to more revenue.

  • bboycult

    i;m hard pressed to think that more streams equate to more revenue for PUBLISHERS. great news for the streaming services tho.