In 2019, U.S. on-demand streams crossed the 1 trillion threshold for the first time ever in a calendar year and logged double-digit percentage increases across nearly every category, save for overall album and track sales (though vinyl sales grew 14.5% to 18.8 million).

Music streaming overall was up 29.3% from 2018, while on-demand video streams earned a bigger uptick, 40.7%, than on-demand audio streams, which rose 23.8%. Nielsen Music/MRC Data, now owned by the same company as Billboard, also unveiled global figures: Worldwide on-demand streams will hit 5.13 trillion, with audio and video to reach 1.72 trillion and 3.4 trillion, respectively.

Lil Nas X rode to the front of the streaming race with his viral “Old Town Road,” which reached 2.5 billion on-demand streams (1 billion from audio and 1.5 billion from video). By comparison, the No. 2 song, Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunfower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse),” hit 1.475 billion on-demand streams (800.7 million from audio and 674.1 million from video). But Post Malone’s album Hollywood’s Bleeding led with 3 million consumption units. Universal Music Group remained the U.S. market-share leader at 38.12%, down slightly from 38.66% in 2018.   

Overall album consumption units grew 15% to 785 million units, up from 682.56 million units last year in the United States. Album audio consumption units rose 11.4% to 677.97 million units from 608.5 million in 2018. Within that overall album consumption figure, catalog (releases older than 18 months) earned slightly more of the overall pie, comprising 63.8% of the market, compared with 63.1% in 2018.

R&B/hip-hop album consumption made the biggest leap in actual units, up 22.6% to 217.14 million versus 177.16 million in 2018. Pop grew at an even higher percentage to 109.54 million units. As a percentage of the overall industry, hip-hop remains the top genre at a 27.7% market share, besting rock’s 19.8% and pop’s 14%. 

A version of this article originally appeared in the Jan. 11, 2020 issue of Billboard. 


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