116M US Consumers Bought Music Last Year, Highest Number Since 2007: Study

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A reported 80 million consumers paid for a music subscription in 2019, up 12 million from the previous year.

The rebound in music consumption continued in 2019 thanks to continued growth in the streaming market, according to MusicWatch’s 2019 Annual Music Study released Wednesday (March 18).

According to the findings -- based on a survey of 5,000 respondents nationwide aged 13 and older and complemented by MusicWatch’s audiocensus study of 3,000 people who provided detailed music listening behaviors -- the number of music buyers in the U.S. hit 116 million in 2019 across paid subscriptions, CDs, paid downloads and new vinyl, the largest number since 2007.

Streaming now accounts for 39% of all music listening in the U.S., with the streaming population rising to 204 million in 2019. That's the first time that number has surpassed 200 million, driven in part by stronger engagement and willingness to subscribe among older consumers. Meanwhile, a reported 80 million consumers paid for a music subscription during 2019, a growth of 12 million over the previous year. YouTube’s premium and ad-supported services continued to enjoy the biggest share of music listening in Q4 2019, though Spotify, Apple and Amazon all grew their shares.

Despite lower spending on CDs and paid downloads, overall per capita spending on recorded music also grew 9% in 2019 to $40.44 thanks to money spent on subscriptions, effectively doubling per capita spending on music since 2015. Results of the study indicate that subscriptions last year were driven by increased smart speaker usage and an increase in streaming while driving.

Additionally, the number of smart speakers in the U.S. grew to 104 million in Q4 2019, while TikTok also enjoyed a strong year, with 30% of internet users over the age of 13 having reported using the social platform to view or post videos or follow influencers and music artists.

To purchase the full report -- which also includes metrics such as music engagement by various activities, piracy, access and ownership options, devices, social media habits and podcast listening -- you can email