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Streaming Overtakes Digital Audio Sales In Latest Nielsen Report

According to the latest numbers out of Nielsen, audio streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have finally overtaken digital music sales.

Nielsen’s data shows that, at least in the US music audio streams were up 76.4%, while digital album and individual track sales were both down more than 20%.

They say digital music sales declined even faster than those of physical albums, though growth in the popularity of music streaming did help offset that decline.

On-demand audio streaming now accounts for 38% of total audio consumption, the largest single contributor.

In addition, 2016 saw 27 songs surpass 200 million on-demand audio plays compared to 2015’s two.

Reports in September pegged Apple Music’s subscriber count at approximately 15 million, half of the services’ biggest competitor Spotify.

Meanwhile, Tidal reportedly passed 3 million subscribers in March 2016. However, several reports since then have alleged the service’s real numbers may be closer to a third of that.

“The music industry continues to grow at a healthy rate, and 2016 showed us that the landscape is evolving even more quickly than we have seen with other format shifts,” said David Bakula, SVP of Music Industry Insights.

“Thanks to the rapid emergence of new technologies and channels for discovery and engagement, consumers are finding and listening to more music in new ways,” he said.

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