Audio streaming more than doubles in first half of 2016 (BuzzAngle)

buzzangle 2016 H1 music consumption 300wData measurement and analysis company BuzzAngle is making waves with the release of its United States 2016 Mid-Year Music Report (PDF here), released on Tuesday. The headline bullet points are these:

  • On-demand audio streaming more than doubled from the same period last year, from 55-billion streams to 114-billion streams.
  • For the first time, audio streaming exceeded video streaming, which gained 23% in 2016 to 95-billion.

Total streaming, audio and video on-demand, rose 58% from year to year, to 209-billion streams in the first half of 2016.

As usual in reports which compare streaming to song/album sales, the latter falls when the former rises. In the BuzzAngle report, digital song files declined 24%, while album downloads skidded 18%. Songs have farther to fall, outselling albums nine to one, according to the report. CDs dropped 11% year-over-year.

Most of the report drills into album and song rankings. In those metrics, BuzzAngle distinguishes “Sales” from “Projects” — the latter embracing consumption across sales and streaming channels. Adele had the second-biggest album measured in sales, just edged out by Drake. When viewed through the “Project” lens, Beyoncé nudges Adele to third place by virtue of the immense streaming success of Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

As with other data organizations which attempt to rank cross-platform success, BuzzAngle uses a stream-to-sale equivalency. An “Album Project” follows this equation: Album Sales + (Song Sales / 10) + (On-Demand Streams / 1,500).

Brad Hill


  1. Streaming is Killing the Music Indistry
    As you know, there is a lot of discussion regarding the fair payment
    of writers and performers of music
    that is being streamed – whether for a very small price per stream or for free.

    At Dynamic, where we have many, many recordings available on CD Baby,
    we feel that
    our income has been adversely affected by the policies in place right
    now. A look at our earnings (and therefore the earnings of CD Baby too!)
    demonstrates that through the first quarter of 2016, our revenues are
    only at 67% of the same quarter last year.
    2015 was down slightly from 2015, and I’m guessing that if we had not
    added additional titles during 2015, the difference
    may have been more significant. If this trend continues through
    2016, being down 33% in CD Baby income is not good.

    And we’re only one company on CD Baby – if other musicians, record
    companies, independent performers, etc. are seeing the
    same trend, it’s a serious loss in income to people who are not being
    compensated properly for streamed and free music.

    We believe CD Baby should unite with the others who have taken a
    stand to gain reasonable payment for artistic endeavors.

    Spotify payment to Dynamic Recording:

    63 streams – $.06 cents. This is a major rip off.
    Radio stations pay us 8.5 cents per play.

    cdBaby, iTunes, amazon all pay us well.
    Smart music buyers love the free music and do not purchase or download.
    Many top Artists have pulled there music from streaming, because their sales
    and downloads have dried up.


    Dave Kaspersin

    Dynamic Recording Studio Independent Label

    • I still say it’s because your music probably sucks.

    • Streaming isn’t killing the music industry. The music industry is killing itself and has been for a long time.

    • An artist I like is switching record labels. In the meantime, her management has put up a website where fans can download free live audio performances. Not every artist is against free music on the internet.

  2. Dave, Wake up and smell the coffee. There has been a paradigm shift in the music industry. No one needs to, or has to buy music anymore. Artists and labels may not like it, but that’s where music listening is trending. Be prepared to give it away, and recoup it by touring and selling merchandise. The future is here. Sorry to say, but adapt or perish.

    • The music industry brought this upon themselves by failing to adapt.


  3. I don’t understand the comparison between streaming and normal radio stations made here. Streaming is 1-1 and payment is based on narrowcast, the radio comparison is based on a broadcast audience. If you assume a 5000 audience for the radio broadcast the 63 streams would have an equivalent value of $0.00107 cents vs the $0.06

  4. What people seem to be missing here is we’re moving from a system where fans buy albums, to a system where fans get music for free, and the musicians and songwriters get paid from advertising. That advertising has no stake in the music itself. The advertisers are just buying impressions. What’s missing is the direct financial relationship between the music and the fan. The only place where that still happens is at the concert venue. From my perspective, I can’t see how that fundamental change is good for the music in the long term.

    • AM/FM radio is free for fans, so I don’t see any difference.

      • AM/FM doesn’t give away the entire album for free. Just the hit singles. The idea was if you love the hit, you might buy the entire album. Instead people like the hit, and then stream the rest for free. No ownership. No tangible relationship. Just streams that disappear after they’re heard. It’s a passive experience, making the music disposable. At least with downloading, there’s a saved file. I’m not complaining, just making an observation. I understand that’s just how it is. Can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. But I believe it will have a long term affect on the music. How do I know? Advertising has had an affect on AM/FM. It’s had an affect on TV. It’s bound to affect music. We’ll see.

        • I use streaming to sample before making a decision to buy.

          Before the internet came along, there were too many times I would buy an album based on hearing a hit single and be disappointed with the rest of the songs on the album. I felt like that was a waste of my hard-earned money and I would either wind up donating the album to Goodwill or selling it in a yard sale.

          To me, being able to listen to an album before purchasing is the equivalent of being able to rent a movie from Netflix before I decide whether I want to buy it from Walmart or like being able to check out a book from a library before I decide whether I want to buy it from Barnes And Noble.

      • 90% of the music I’ve been purchasing is oldies I grew up on and most of my purchases are through Ebay or Amazon’s third-party sellers.

        • Good for you. But this article says album sales are down 14% while streaming is up. So while YOU may be buying music, most people aren’t. BTW the artists & writers don’t make any money when you buy from 3rd parties. Also 3rd party sales don’t show up in sales statistics like the ones in this article.

          • The reason I have to buy from third party sellers is because the oldies albums I’m interested in are no longer in stock at FYE or Walmart.

          • Quite right, Idol Girl. Buying 3rd party may not help the music industry but sometimes you have no choice.

          • According to a Consumer Trends survey by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), 45+ is the age group that still buys music and they are buying music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s rather than new acts.


            Sounds like Idol Girl is in that demographic.

          • Thanks for that article David Cook Fan.

            As it points out in the following paragraph, the music industry is killing itself more so than technology killing it:

            “Many record labels have done away with artist development departments as they have focused more on creating acts aimed at tweens and teens. There is a concern that newer artists won’t have the longevity that many earliers acts like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Madonna have had. If record companies don’t invest more in developing their acts and ensuring they stay for the long haul, there might not be a big catalog market in the future to keep the music industry afloat.”

    • I like several indie artists. They are amongst the artists not opposed to streaming. The reason is simple. They feel that exposure is more important.

  5. I will only purchase a CD if I absolutely can’t find it for sale in digital format, and that’s usually something I end up having to import. It’s amazing that some artists are still locked away behind regional labels that prevent the sale of their work over the Internet, so I end up having to pay some guy in the UK to put a physical disc in a box and have it flown across the world to me.

    I used to think I liked having the CD booklets and such, but then I realized that all they do is take up space and cause clutter, and most artist’s websites serve that same purpose now. I also have to chuckle at the concept of a digital copy somehow being more fragile or easier to lose than a physical copy. Sure, if you’re careless enough to store all your music only in one place, then it’s no safer than having all your CDs in a wallet to get swiped, or crushed or otherwise damaged.

    With the proliferation of cheap cloud backup in general and music storage services in specific, it’s ridiculously easy to have even a huge collection backed up and available across all manner of devices. Between Spotify, Apple’s iTunes Match, Amazon and Google, my entire library isn’t just backed up on all my PCs and laptops, it’s also in the cloud four places (including CrashPlan) and thanks to a one-time payment to Apple, the vast majority of my CDs that were ripped at low bitrates, many of which I no longer have, have been upgraded to a very respectable 256k bit rate.

    The only time I ever burn a physical CD is to give to my parents to play in their car.

    • Definitely agree about imports. The small handful of current artists that I like are from the UK and Europe. If I can find their CD in digital format, I get that because it’s cheaper than paying import prices.

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