As we ease into the 2020s, data about the music industry’s growth is more abundant than ever.
Within the last week, BuzzAngle and Nielsen Music — the two central, competing, public-facing music-data firms in the U.S. — released their annual reports on music listening trends. BuzzAngle powers Rolling Stone‘s charts and is owned by Penske Media, the parent company of Rolling Stone, Variety and Deadline; Nielsen Music was acquired by Valence Media, the parent company of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, in December 2019.
The two reports differ on some details, but are directionally similar. Both put the total number of music streams in the U.S. last year over one trillion for the first time, representing a 15% growth in streams year-over-year. Both note that on-demand streaming accounted for over 80% of total consumption in the U.S., and that audio streaming in particular continued to register solid annual growth (from Nielsen’s 24% to BuzzAngle’s 32%).
Nielsen’s report in particular sheds light on the artists who dominated the past decade. Drake, Eminem and Taylor Swift were the only three artists to rank in the top 10 for the most album sales and streams last decade — country stars like Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Toby Keith lead the radio airplay charts over the same time period. Interestingly, while Adele had the two best-selling albums of the decade — 21 and 25, respectively, both released in 2015 or earlier — she’s nowhere to be found on any decade-end streaming charts.