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On-demand audio music streams up 27.5% in first half of 2021


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Listeners streamed 1.3 trillion tracks from on-demand audio music services in the first half of 2021, up 27.5% year-on-year. That’s according to MRC Data, which published this global figure as part of its mid-year report focusing mainly on the US. The company said that Japan was the fastest growing streaming market this year, although that’s from a famously lower base than other major markets.

What about the US? MRC Data reported that ‘total album consumption’ – a metric that blends sales and streams of albums and tracks – grew by 13.5% year-on-year. While on-demand streams grew by 10.8% to 555.3bn tracks across audio and video services, the figures also include a bounce-back for physical sales.

Physical album sales overall were up 37.5% to 38.3m, with vinyl sales more than doubling to 19.2m as part of that. That means vinyl has jumped from being just under a third of the US physical market a year ago to just over half now. Imagine telling that to someone in the music industry a decade ago…

MRC Data also noted a continued growth in the share of listening taken by catalogue music compared to frontline – catalogue in this case defined as anything released more than 18 months ago. Its share has grown from 63.9% a year ago to 66.4% now, with the consumption of catalogue music growing by 18% in terms of volume, compared to 5.6% for ‘current’ tracks.

Music Ally has also looked back to last year’s mid-year report to see how the consumption share of various genres is evolving. No big changes: the order of the 10 most popular genres remains the same. Something to keep an eye on though: Rock saw its share grow from 19.3% to 20.4%, while Latin grew from 4.4% to 5.3%.

Both also saw similar increases in their share of on-demand streaming consumption specifically, with small declines for R&B / Hip-Hop, Pop, and Children’s music. That said, R&B / Hip-Hop remains the king of the streaming world, with its 30.7% share of consumption well ahead of second-placed Rock’s 16.5%.

Stuart Dredge

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