Audio overtakes video in US as streaming booms
AMERICANS have for the first time streamed more music on audio services such as Spotify than through videos, in a welcome shift for the industry, a study said on Tuesday.
Streaming has been rapidly growing and offering a new source of revenue for the long-beleaguered music business, which has tried to steer fans to subscription audio sites and away from video behemoth YouTube.
Analytical firm BuzzAngle Music, in a mid-year report, reported 114 billion audio streams on sites such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Rhapsody in the first six months of the year.
The number topped the 95 billion video streams on YouTube, Dailymotion and other sites, marking the first period in which audio dominated, it said.
Audio streams soared in the first six months of this year, more than doubling from the same period last year.
Video streams grew by a more modest 23 per cent.
Streaming overall expanded by 58 per cent in the United States, the world's largest music market, keeping up a breakneck rate of growth, it said.
The shift towards audio streaming is striking as YouTube has more than one billion users around the world.
Spotify, the largest streaming company, said it had 89 million active monthly users worldwide as at the end of last year, of whom 28 million were paying for subscriptions.
Streaming - which allows unlimited, on-demand listening - has been transforming the global music industry, which last year reported its first substantial revenue growth since the dawn of the Internet age.
While some artists criticise Spotify for its compensation level, the music industry says it earns far less from video sites.
BuzzAngle said Canadian rapper Drake's Views was the biggest album in the first six months of the year. Beyonce's Lemonade was a distant second, followed by Adele's 25.