Streaming music and Adele kept US record biz afloat in 2015

spotify drops safari
Streaming music and Adele were the two bright spots of the U.S. recorded music industry last year. Streams from on-demand services like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music doubled from 164.5 billion in 2014 to 317.2 billion in 2015 according to Nielsen Music’s annual year-end report (via Billboard). And Adele, who broke too many records to count with her massively popular LP called 25, was a huge enough force that she single-handedly accounted for 3 percent of album sales in the U.S.

While streaming music continued to grow, digital and physical sales continued to fall. Digital track sales suffered the biggest drop (12.5 percent) but physical album sales (8.3 percent), and digital album sales (2.9 percent), also continued their descent. All of these music formats would’ve seen an even bigger fall if it wasn’t for Adele.

Adele’s 25, the English artist’s third record released November 20, sold a massive 8 million equivalent albums (including traditional album sales, “track equivalent albums,” and “streaming equivalent albums”). In comparison, the following three most-sold records (Taylor Swift’s 1989, Justin Bieber’s Purpose, and Ed Sheeran’s X) sold roughly 7.5 million equivalent albums combined. Adele notably decided against making her record available on streaming services.

Other interesting facts from the report include Mark Ronson Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars)’ Uptown Funk being crowned the most sold song of the year (tallying 5.53 million records) and a continued vinyl resurgence. Sales of vinyl records hit 11.9 million records (up 29.8 percent), and Adele sold the most records in that format too.

Notably, Nielsen Music tracks album sales but does not track revenue from those sales. We’ll find out more information on how the U.S. music industry fared this past year when the Recording Industry Association (RIAA) releases its annual report in early spring.

In the meantime, though, one refrain continues to haunt the music industry stateside: If it doesn’t figure out how to better monetize streaming music, it’s going to be in some serious trouble.

Product Review

You should definitely buy a MateBook X Pro, just not this one

Huawei has a new version of the MateBook X Pro in 2019, building off the success of its first iteration last year. What’s new? Well, the graphics card, the processor, and the pricing. Not all of these are in its favor.
Music

Amazon rumored to be launching free music-streaming service

Rumors are swirling that Amazon is planning to take on Spotify by launching its own free, ad-supported music streaming service. This seems to be a move aimed at Echo users in particular.
Movies & TV

The future of Star Wars: All the known movies and TV series coming your way

Disney has sky-high expectations for its Star Wars universe, with plenty of plans for the franchise on the big screen and television over the next few years. Here are all the upcoming movies and TV shows, both rumored and confirmed.
Computing

PC sales slide 5 percent in 2019 and they’re taking Apple with them

PC sales are down year on year with nearly three million less systems selling during the same period in 2019. While this is bad news for Apple, Asus, and Acer, Lenovo increased its lead to almost a quarter of the entire industry.
Home Theater

Apple AirPods 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds: Which are the better buds?

Who makes the better true wireless earbuds? Is it Apple, with its classic white AirPods and fantastic charging case, or Samsung, whose new Galaxy Buds boast waterproofing, a wireless charging case, and sleek ergonomic design.
Home Theater

Is Amazon making headphones to compete with the Apple’s AirPods?

Amazon is reportedly working on a pair of Alexa-enabled true wireless headphones to compete with Apple's AirPods. The new true wireless model will allow people to bring Alexa with them anywhere and may come out in the fall.
Home Theater

Amazon’s Echo Link and Echo Link Amp bring hi-fi sound to Alexa’s living room

Amazon's Echo Link and Echo Link Amp are designed to bring high-fidelity sound to your Alexa ecosystem. Are they worth the significant expense over a smaller Echo speaker, and how well do they integrate into a typical hi-fi system?
Music

The best new music this week: Weyes Blood, Ages and Ages, and many more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: Ages and Ages, John Vanderslice, Kendrick Scott Oracle, Louis Cole, Shana Cleveland, Tyler Ramsey, and Weyes Blood.
Music

How to clean your records to keep them looking good and sounding sweet

Vinyl records are back in a big way, but the sound quality can suffer if you don't keep your collection clean. Check out our tips for keeping your vinyl and stylus immaculate, so you can hear every note of your favorite analog tunes.
Music

These droolworthy albums are among the most expensive vinyl records of all time

From rare Beatles originals to one-off test pressings, these are some of the most expensive vinyl records on Earth — the kind of discs that make plaid-clad record collectors and average listeners alike green with envy. Or sticker shock…
Home Theater

Keep those albums sounding great by converting your vinyl to a digital format

There are all sorts of reasons for ripping records and storing them digitally, but what's the best way to do it? We cover the different types of equipment and software available for ripping records at any price in this guide.
Emerging Tech

Even a true rock god can’t smash this unbreakable 3D-printed metal guitar

Rock stars love to smash guitars. Geeky engineers love to build things using the latest high-tech tools. What happens when both parties meet? This "unbreakable" 3D-printed metal guitar.
Home Theater

Celebrate Record Store Day in style with the best vinyl setups

From simple and affordable to sleek and swanky, these are our recommendations for incredible vinyl setups that will allow you to listen to your favorite records with outstanding fidelity and take your collection to the next level.
Home Theater

Record Store Day is here! Here's how to build a killer vinyl collection

Feeling the vinyl vibe? You're not alone. If you're interested in starting your own record collection and listening to tunes the analog way, we're here to help. This guide will take you through everything you need to know.