Nielsen mid-year: Streaming up 92%

nielsen mid-year RAIN chart

SOURCE: Nielsen Music U.S. Mid-Year Report

A newly released Nielsen Music U.S. Mid-Year Report delivers a dramatic message: On-demand music streaming nearly doubled over the first half of 2014. In last year’s report, streaming gained 50% over the first half of 2013. “The growth of streaming continues to accelerate,” says Nielsen.

Nielsen’s mid-year report focuses on on-demand streaming, measuring consumption in Spotify, Rdio, Slacker, Rhapsody, and other interactive services (including YouTube and Vevo). As such, it tracks the impact of streaming on the record business. Non-interactive services like Pandora and other Internet radio platforms, which potentially impact terrestrial radio, are not touched by this report.

Here are the specifics:

  • Overall, on-demand streaming grew 92% over the first half of last year. That dramatic metric includes audio and video music streaming.
  • 135-billion streams were consumed, vs. 70-billion in H1 2014.
  • Video music streaming is charging upward faster (109%) than audio-only streaming (+74%).
  • Total music album consumption gained 14% during the reporting period. That statistic includes “Streaming Equivalent Albums” (SEA), which Nielsen calculates as 1,500 streams equaling one album purchase. The 14% gain is a unit measurement, not revenue.
  • Startlingly, vinyl record sales amounted to 9% (5.6-million units) of total album sales. Vinyl is the only physical album type that grew sales (+38%).

Taylor Swift’s removal of her hit album 1989 can be starkly seen in its streaming numbers compared to other top albums for first-half 2015:

nielsen mid-year 2015 taylor swift chart


Brad Hill