Many artists complain about the income from streaming, but it might be time to do some new business budgeting because, whether they like it or not, it is the way consumers are going to listen to music in the very near future.
New upstart organization BuzzAngle Music, who publishes daily sales and streaming charts, has put out a report on the music industry in the first half of the year and the results are quite eyeopening.
The industry, based on album sales plus song sales (10 downloads = 1 album unit) plus streams (1,500 streams = 1 album unit) is up by 6.5% for the first half of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015 with 203 million-plus album units “sold” vs. 191 million last year.
It’s the way they were consumed that is drastically and quickly changing.
Quick takes from the 6-month data:
* A The 58% gain in overall streaming was juiced by a 108% swell for audio streams, a category that saw a year-over-year growth of 97% in 2015. Audio stream plays in the first six months more than doubled those from the same period last year.
* There were 209.4 billion on-demand streams in this half-year. More than half of those, 114 billion, were audio plays, marking the first period in which streams from audio services like Spotify and Apple Music exceeded video streams from YOUTUBE, VEVO and the like. With a 23% gain, video streams totaled 95 billion.
* As happened in 2015, digital song sales continue to fall quicker than digital album sales in 2016 – (declining by 24.2 % and 17.7%, respectively), tracks still outsell album downloads by more than a 9-1 margin. As was the case in 2015, digital accounts for more than half of albums sold in the first half of 2016 with a 53% share.
* Even with the vinyl’s 17% gain, a CD erosion of 11% meant physical album volume fell by 9% from the first half of 2015, yet physical can still mean a lot to some large sellers. ADELE’s “25,” for example, stands as the second best-selling album of the year, and 65% of the 1.25 million it rang this year came from physical product, the large majority of those CDs.
* For top album project consumption, factoring song sales and streams with album sales, DRAKE’s “Views” leads the pack with more than 2.5 million album project units. In this tally, BEYONCE’s ” Lemonade” is second with 1.67 million, and ADELE’s “25” is third at 1.6 million. Like DRAKE’s “Views,” BEYONCE’s April release has been available for streaming for the life of the album.
* DRAKE also ruled song project consumption, with the combined impact of sales and streams, surpassing 3.3 million song project units for “One Dance.” On song sales alone, FLO RIDA’s “My House” tops all with his 2015 song clocking 1.9 million song sales in the first six months of this year.
* The two best-selling year-to date albums show the range of options artists and labels can employ in their approach to the marketplace. The top seller, DRAKE’s “Views” (1.27 million), has been available for streaming since its release 1O weeks ago. He earns the first-half sales crown and “Views” is also the most streamed album so far in ’16, piling up more than 1.5 billion plays.
* Conversely, the runner up, ADELE’s aforementioned “25” — which was last year’s top seller — only reached streaming services at the end of JUNE, more than seven months after its launch. It and BEYONCE’s “Lemonade” are the only albums besides DRAKE’s to surpass 1 million album sales so far this year.
* It’s been a banner six months for Urban music, with the Hip-Hop and R&B genres both showing conspicuous growth. Aside from league-leading DRAKE, KEVIN GATES represents Hip-Hop among the top 1O most consumed album projects, while BEYONCE and RIHANNA are among four R&B artists in that list’s top 10. Hip-Hop had the greatest growth among all genres in song consumption and second largest growth in album consumption. R&B’s growth ranked first in album consumption and third in songs.
* In the half-year span when fans mourned the deaths of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers PRINCE, DAVID BOWIE, GLENN FREY and EARTH, WIND & FIRE founder MAURICE WHITE, their music resonated, with PRINCE and BOWIE each represented in the top 1O among year-to-date album sellers.
* PRINCE, alone, placed five of the half-year period’s 100 top selling albums, most of his sales happening since his death in late APRIL. BOWIE and FREY’s EAGLES each placed two albums among the top 100 sellers. As a class, albums by those acts plus FREY’s solo releases and EARTH, WIND & FIRE’s catalog amassed 3 million copies in these six months, more than four times what that set of artists sold in all of 2015.
Breaking down the album sales further, only one category has grown, vinyl, and that is even at a much slower pace than in the past. So far, vinyl sales are up just 17.3% from 2.6 million to 3.1 million although BuzzAngle does admit that vinyl is being sold in many non-traditional stores and the actual total could be up to twice as much. Still, as much as we tout the “vinyl revolution”, it is still a very small part of album sales overall. CDs account for 37 million units (down 11%).
Only one veteran artist placed in BuzzAngle’s top 25 albums of the year, so far, both by Prince. The Very Best of Prince is at 13 with 553 thousand in total sales equivalents while Purple Rain is at 16 with 533 thousand. The top three are Drake’s Views (2.6 million), Beyonce’s Lemonade (1.7 million) and Adele’s 25 (1.6 million).
On the singles side, Justin Timberlake is at 15 with Can’t Stop the Feeling! with sales plus streams of 1.8 million. The top three for the first half of the year are One Dance by Drake with 3.4 million, Work by Rihanna with 3.3 million and 7 Years by Lukas Graham with 2.8 million.
For pure physical album sales, Prince’s Very Best of is number 5 with 553 thousand while David Bowie’s Blackstar is 10th with 358 thousand. Blackstar tops vinyl album sales with 33,720 sold with Prince, Bob Marley, the Beatles, Radiohead and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack also making the top ten.
You can see the entire report at BuzzAngle Music.
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