The midyear charts are finally out, and a technological shift in the music industry is becoming increasingly apparent, especially when it comes to on-demand playback, according to BuzzAngle.
People worldwide are now streaming their music more than ever, with audio streams surpassing even video in the first half of 2016. Services including Apple Music, Spotify, Google Music, and Tidal have delivered 114 billion plays in the first six months of this year, compared to 95 billion streams on video platforms.
Those numbers mark a 58 percent increase over last year’s plays, making this the biggest-ever year for streaming music — a market that shows no signs of diminished growth in the near future.
Rihanna’s smash hit Work has been the most-played single of 2016 so far, and her collaborator on that single, Drake, is unsurprisingly the most-streamed artist. Drake’s latest record, Views, recently tied Michael Jackson for the longest time spent at number one (seven weeks). That record also tops charts as the most-purchased of the year, with 1.2 million units moved.
Fellow Canadian pop idol Justin Bieber is the second most-requested musician on streaming services this year, with 1.3 billion streams in the past six months, compared to Drake’s 1.5 billion.
The huge increase in streaming plays — we’re talking about tens of billions more plays this year than last — means increased leverage when it comes to label negotiations with free-option streaming services like YouTube and Spotify. As plays increase, artist and label arguments regarding fair wages will probably only increase, and with negotiations with YouTube in particular ongoing, those arguments could force some big changes in pay per play.
Given the big blockbuster releases from the first half of this year it’s tough to imagine that streaming plays will be bolstered as much in the next 5 months.