Variety report Drake and Post Malone had the highest volume of on-demand streams and Ed Sheeran has the top song in Nielsen Music’s mid-year report for the six-month period ending June 28, 2018, which was released Friday morning.
“The first half of 2018 has shown robust growth for the music industry, building upon the successes of the business in recent years,” said David Bakula, SVP of Industry Insights for Nielsen Music, in a statement. “Fans have never before had access to music on the scale that we see today, and we expect even more gains for the industry in the six months ahead.”
Drake and Post Malone had the highest volume of on-demand audio streams in the U.S., with 3.3 billion and 3.1 billion, respectively, but higher album sales put Post Malone on top of all artists in total album equivalent consumption. Drake’s “God’s Plan” is the year’s biggest song thus far, in terms of total song consumption (digital song sales with streaming equivalent on-demand audio); it has clocked 5.3 million units, including 655 million on-demand audio streams. It is followed by Post Malone’s “Psycho” and BlocBoy JB’s “Look Alive.”
After surpassing Rock for the first time as music’s most consumed genre last July, R&B/Hip-Hop continues to extend its lead, with 31% of total album equivalent volume (album + TEA + Audio and Video SEA). R&B/Hip-Hop’s lead over the next biggest genre (Rock) has increased from 4.1% last year (29.3% vs. 25.2%) to 8.1% this year (31.2% vs. 23.1%).
The R&B/Hip-Hop domination has extended to radio, too. Among persons 18-49, the average quarter-hour audience share of Urban Contemporary stations has increased by 15% in the past four years.
Adult Contemporary is broadening its influence as a mass appeal format. Since the first half of 2016, AC has grown from the fifth most listened to format among Millennials to the third (behind Pop and Country) during the first half of 2018.
In the top 50 largest population markets, Country ranks as the third most listened to format behind News/Talk and Adult Contemporary. But on a national basis, across all markets, Country is the top-ranked format – leading even News/Talk in terms of total share of listening.
Spanish Contemporary has benefited the most from the post-”Despacito” boom of 2017, with a 15% lift in share of total audience between the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2018, and a 23% surge among Millennials during the same time period.
Alternative continues its upswing, with share among Millennial listeners up 10% in the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2016.