Global music streaming soars in the first half of 2021

Image credit: Viktor Forgacs

The MRC Data report shows that streaming is currently dominating the music industry, proving we are entering the streaming era.

The MRC Data report has shined a light on the prominence of streaming, which has boasted a 27.5% year-on-year boost, totaling a staggering 1.3 trillion through 2021’s opening months. In addition to his U.S. on-demand song streaming (covering both audio and video platforms) improved by 10.8% YoY, to 555.3 billion played tracks. 

Album plays also saw an increase of 13.5 percent gain from 202’s first half, at 434.7 million. The total U.S digital music consumption also grew by 11.6% YoY, to 396.3 million. 

The report also highlighted that Japan is the “fastest growing global streaming market”, beating Poland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Belgium. 

Streaming earnings also rocketed in Japan to 27% with physical releases dropping by 9%. Interestingly the MRC Data report found that “found that 64% of music listeners in Japan are using free music streaming services…In the U.S. this figure is 88%.”

As expected Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ is the most streamed song so far with a mind-blowing 582.8 million on-demand streams across the half-year window.

As streaming flourishes digital music sales continues their YoY decline, falling 12.5% to 190.5 million. U.S digital album sales also saw a large decline of 26.8% from 2020’s opening two quarters, to 12.9 million. However, there still were some top-performing album sales, such as Taylor Swift’s ‘Evermore’ which shifted 374,000 units (digital and physical), and Morgan Wallen’s ‘Dangerous: The Double Album’, which sold 241,000 units.

Die-hard fans of BTS also helped elevate them have impressive digital sales statistics with single ‘Butter’ reaching 841,000 digital sales and ‘Dynamite’ taking 283,000. A cumulative digital sales total of over 1.12 million. 

The MRC Data report also highlighted a massive increase in vinyl sales in the U.S, which saw an eye-watering 108.2% increase in sales volume, selling 19.2 million units. This is the platform’s 15th year of consecutive growth. According to the report for the first time since 1991 vinyl album sales outpaced CD album sales. 

Music journalist and photojournalist based in Cornwall.

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