United Kingdom passes 1 bln audio streams per week

Streaming services, which offer unlimited on-demand music online, have grown rapidly in recent years and brought new growth to a long-stagnant industry. Paid subscription streams rose 124 percent previous year and made up 76 percent of all streams in 2016, according to a new report on US music consumption by data tracker BuzzAngle Music.

The 2016 data offered additional good news for the industry - more people are paying to subscribe to services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, rather than choosing advertising-backed platforms such as Spotify's free tier that are frowned upon by record labels.

The UK's streaming figures were so high that the music sales across all formats for our small island totalled over £1 billion in sales. With major artists like David Bowie releasing his final album at the start of year to Adele's award-winning 25, which was released at the end of last year but has seen continuing success throughout the year.

Ad-funded on-demand streaming volume only grew 14.3%, up to 59.36bn from 51.96bn year-on-year. That's equivalent to over 1,500 streams for each of the U.K.'s 27 million households. The figure excludes streams on video platforms such as YouTube, which are not reflected in Official Charts data. Surprisingly, Christmas Eve when 1,588,455,616 songs were streamed. That's a 68 percent increase on 2015 and an increase of 500 percent on 2013. Now, we have some idea how thoroughly streaming has changed the music marketplace, especially in the last year: on any given day in 2016, there were more songs stream than there were song downloads for the entire year.

CD sales fell by 11.7 percent in the same period, although still accounts for just over 40 percent of total music consumption throughout the United Kingdom with 47 million units sold in the calendar year.

The vinyl resurgence has been helping to keep the physical market on the up, seeing a 53% rise in the United Kingdom past year that amounted to 3.2 million unit sales; the largest vinyl sales since 1991. The top-selling vinyl album of the year was twenty one pilots' blurryface, with more than 49,000 copies sold, followed by Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, with 41,000 sold, and Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool with nearly 40,000.

  • Jacqueline Ellis