Chart Beat

30% of All U.S. Music Streams in 2018 Were R&B/Hip-Hop, With Drake the Most-Streamed Artist of Year

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Drake attends the 2017 NBA Awards live on TNT on June 26, 2017 in New York City.

Drake is first artist to earn 10 billion streams in a year, while total on-demand streams totaled 901 billion in 2018 — up 43 percent.

Drake was the king of streaming in 2018, as he finished the year as the most-streamed artist in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. The superstar collected 11.13 billion on-demand streams for his catalog of songs (in both audio and video streams) -- a yearly record for an artist, surpassing his own record of 6.4 billion in 2017.

Drake is also the first act to earn 10 billion streams for his songs in a calendar year.

Drake’s streaming haul represented 1.2 percent of total streams across all artists in all genres. In total, 901 billion on-demand streams were registered in 2018 -- up 42.6 percent over 2017.

Drake’s streams were fueled greatly by the success of his album Scorpion, which generated 4.57 billion on-demand audio streams -- the most-streamed album of 2018. (Meanwhile, the set’s songs collected another 1.76 billion in on-demand video streams.)

R&B/HIP-HOP DOMINATES STREAMING: The combined genre of R&B/hip-hop continues to be the heaviest hitter on streaming services, with the genre accounting for 30 percent of all on-demand streams in 2018 (267.4 billion clicks of the 901 billion total).

The second-largest genre in 2018 streaming was rock music, with a 14.2 percent share of the market (127.5 billion streams).

Overall on-demand audio streams vaulted 49 percent to 611 billion, while on-demand video streams surged 30 percent to 290 billion.

RAP RULES AMONG MOST-STREAMED ARTISTS: Following Drake on the list of the most-streamed acts of 2018 are eight more hip-hop acts: Post Malone (7.51 billion), XXXTentacion (6.91 billion), Eminem (4.82 billion), YoungBoy Never Broke Again (4.46 billion), Migos (4.17 billion), Travis Scott (4.01 billion), Cardi B (3.99 billion) and Lil Baby (3.32 billion). Rounding out the top 10 most-streamed acts of 2018 is pop superstar Ariana Grande, with 3.28 billion clicks.

“GOD’S PLAN” IS YEAR’S MOST-STREAMED SONG: Drake’s smash single “God’s Plan” finishes 2018 as the most-streamed song of the year, as it accumulated 1.566 billion on-demand audio and video streams -- a calendar-year record for a song. It was one of four titles to surpass 1 billion streams in 2018, up from just a single billion-streamer in 2017 (Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” featuring Justin Bieber, with 1.32 billion).

The top 10 most-streamed songs of 2018 were unsurprisingly dominated by hip-hop titles, with Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” being the only non-hip-hop effort in the region (at No. 9, with 797.27 million streams).

Nielsen Music’s 2018 tracking year ran from Dec. 29, 2017, through Jan. 3, 2019. Due to a quirk in the calendar, there were 53 weeks in 2018 instead of the usual 52. So for 2018 volume comparisons to 2017, a corresponding 53-week period is used by Nielsen Music for 2017: Dec. 30, 2016 through Jan. 4, 2018. Numbers in this story are rounded.

RankArtist, TitleStreams
1Drake, "God's Plan"1,565,711,000
2Juice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams"1,107,289,000
3Drake, "In My Feelings"1,100,534,000
4XXXTentacion, "Sad!"1,026,294,000
5Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign, "Psycho"924,496,000
6Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, "Rockstar"905,440,000
7Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It"873,494,000
8Drake, "Nice for What"844,403,000
9Ed Sheeran, "Perfect"797,274,000
10BlocBoy JB featuring Drake, "Look Alive"766,073,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019.


RankArtist, TitleStreams
1Drake, "God's Plan"917,872,000
2Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign, "Psycho"594,516,000
3Drake, "Nice for What"576,214,000
4Juice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams"572,972,000
5XXXTentacion, "Sad!"565,324,000
6Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, "Rockstar"525,971,000
7Drake, "In My Feelings"522,591,000
8BlocBoy JB featuring Drake, "Look Alive"522,155,000
9Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It"508,202,000
10Travis Scott, "Sicko Mode"479,509,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019.


RankArtist, TitleStreams
1Drake, "God's Plan"647,839,000
2Drake, "In My Feelings"577,943,000
3Juice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams"534,317,000
4XXXTentacion, "Sad!"460,970,000
5Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber, "Despacito"422,743,000
6Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B, "Girls Like You"415,292,000
7Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug, "Havana"399,510,000
8Ella Mai, "Boo'd Up"398,445,000
9Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, "Rockstar"379,468,000
10Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It"365,292,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019.