Thanks mostly to paid streaming services, overall music consumption was up in 2016. According to a new report released by BuzzAngle Music, people in the United States consumed 4.9% more music in 2016 than 2015 with subscription streaming services seeing a 124% hike.
Audio streams hit a record high of 250.7 billion, which is over 80% more than the previous year. For the first time, two songs reached over 700 million streams including “Panda” by Desiigner (736.8m) and Rihanna’s “Work” (716.6m).
While streaming and overall consumption are up, music sales have continued to take a hit in almost every category. With a daily average of 1.2 billion, there were more streams per day than song downloads for the entire year (734 million). Album sales are also down 15.6% and song sales dropped 24.8%. The only category of album sales to increase was vinyl, which saw sales rise by 25.9%. Unfortunately for overall physical album sales, vinyl only accounts for 8%.
BuzzAngle’s analysis by genre showed that Hip Hop/Rap continues to be the most popular genre in terms of total song consumption and accounts for 30% of all streams, while Rock continues to lead in sales. They also pointed out that in 2016 approximately 50% of all music consumed were ‘Deep Catalog” titles, meaning they were released over three years ago.
Still, even with a drop of over 4%, Pop music held onto its lead in album consumption at 14.6% with Hip Hop/Rap coming in second with 14.4%. Hip Hip/Rap saw album consumption rise 24.8% and took the top spot for song consumption. Drake was named BuzzAngle’s Artist of the Year with his album “Views” and song “One Dance” leading in consumption units.
EDM saw a 35% increase in album consumption and 72.% in songs, clocking in as the largest genre growth of the year.
The Rock genre which includes rock, alternative, metal, indie rock, punk, and folk had the most album sales, accounting for 63% of all vinyl sales.
Adele sold the most albums in 2016 with her 2015 release “25” with 1,550,584 album sales, beating Drake’s “Views” by less than 40,000 units.
A summary of music in 2016 wouldn’t be complete without the examination of the artists that passed away. Last year was shrouded in the loss of many huge music icons and music consumption reflected that. On the day Prince died (April 21, 2016) there were more than one million Prince songs downloaded and 230,000 album sales. The day after David Bowie passed away (Jan. 11, 2016) there were 47.8 million streams of Bowie songs. The week Juan Gabriel passed (Aug. 28, 2016) he was the number five top most streamed artist. The week George Michael died (Dec. 25, 2016) he was the top artist for song sales.