Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Nielsen: Album Consumption Increased 23% In 2018

After a relatively quiet 2017 on the charts, Nielsen 2018 Music Year-End notes female artists made a big splash in 2018 thanks to No. 1 hits and wildly popular singles/albums from Cardi B, Camila Cabello and Ariana Grande. Women have ruled the Billboard Hot 100 as lead or featured artists for 18 weeks in 2018, up from eight weeks in 2017.
  • On the heels of her first Billboard No. 1 single in 2017, “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B became the first female rapper to score two solo No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Like It,” which was quickly followed by a third No. 1 from her collaboration with Maroon 5 for “Girls Like You” (731 million on-demand streams). Her debut album Invasion of Privacy also set the record for the most on-demand audio streams (202.6 million) ever in a debut week for an album by a woman.
  • Ariana Grande’s Sweetener scored the largest single-week streams for a pop album by a woman upon its August release with 126.7 million on-demand audio streams for the week ending Aug. 23. Three months later, her standalone single “thank u, next” became her first-ever Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single, buoyed by on-demand streams of over 455 million during the year.
  • Females also ruled the radio airwaves, with Bebe Rexha’s “Meant To Be” (with Florida Georgia Line, 867,000 spins—the most played song at radio during the year), Maren Morris (featured on Zedd’s “The Middle”, 807,000 spins), Cardi B (featured prominently on Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You,” 688,000 spins, and Bruno Mars' "Finesse," 581,000 spins), Camila Cabello (“Never Be the Same” and “Havana” each surpassed 640,000 spins), Dua Lipa's "New Rules” (622,000 spins), Taylor Swift’s “Delicate” (592,000 spins), and Normani’s “Love Lies” (with Khalid, 573,000 spins) among the year’s radio songs chart toppers.
According to Nielsen, the music industry experienced significant overall growth in 2018, with total album equivalent audio consumption up 23% over 2017, driven by a 49% increase in on-demand audio song streams compared to last year.

The top-streamed on-demand song (audio and video combined) is Drake’s “God’s Plan” with over 1.5 billion total streams, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks. “God’s Plan” also led total song consumption (digital song sales with streaming equivalent on-demand audio) with 7.4 million units, including over 918 million on-demand audio streams. Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” was the leader in song sales with 1.3 million in permanent downloads so far this year.

Key year-end insights (through week-ending 1/3/19):
  • Music streaming volume continued to rise, with the total number of on-demand audio song streams reaching 611 billion in 2018, a sizable 49% increase over the same time period in 2017.
  • Overall on-demand music streaming volume, including video, surpassed 900 billion streams, an increase of 43% over the same period last year.
  • Vinyl continued to soar, up 15% over the same period last year with record-breaking sales during the week of the 11th annual Record Store Day.
  • Despite sharp declines in Digital purchasing, Digital Audio consumption (digital albums + track equivalent albums + on-demand audio streaming equivalent albums) was up a healthy 34%.
  • Four songs surpassed 1 billion on-demand streams this year, including Drake’s “God’s Plan”, Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams (Forget Me)”, Drake’s “In My Feelings” and XXXtentacion’s “Sad.”

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