We’re still waiting for 2013 revenue figures for the US music industry to understand the true impact that the growth of streaming services like Spotify had on the market last year. But we do at least now have some more numbers to quantify the growth in terms of listening.
According to Nielsen and Billboard, US song streams jumped 32% to 118.1bn last year – a figure that includes streams from AOL, Cricket’s Muve Music, MediaNet, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, YouTube, Vevo and Zune (!). On-demand audio streams specifically (i.e. not YouTube/Vevo) rose 103%.
The report confirms stats made public earlier this month: US digital track sales fell 6% to 1.3bn, while digital albums rose slightly from 117m units in 2012 to 117.3m in 2013.
”Despite shifts in how music is consumed, we see continued growth in overall music consumption,” said Nielsen’s David Bakula. “With more than 118 billion streams in 2013 reported by our data providers, which is the approximate revenue equivalent of 59 million albums purchased, the industry remains vibrant as consumption continues to change and expand.”
Consumption is up, but actual revenues are the missing piece of the puzzle to understand how this transition is progressing. YouTube’s importance also leaps out from Billboard’s chart of the 10 most-streamed songs in the US last year: it’s topped by Baauer’s Harlem Shake with 489.6m streams.
That’s a figure that has much more to do with viral videos than on-demand audio streams, given that the track’s lifetime global Spotify streams are 25.5m. Also see second-placed Gangnam Style by PSY (280m US streams in 2013, having been released in June 2012) for more evidence of that.