On-Demand Audio, Video Streams Pass 1 Trillion This Year for First Time in US

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Even in an era where streaming records are seemingly broken with regularity, there are still thresholds that are worth stopping to acknowledge. And last week served up one of them.

For the week ended Nov. 21, U.S. audio and video on-demand streams passed 1 trillion for the first time ever in a calendar year, tallying 1.002 trillion streams so far this year, according to Nielsen Music. At the same time last year, there were 765.2 billion audio and video on-demand streams in the U.S.

Overall, that has represented 31% growth year-over-year to date; if that rate continues, by the end of 2019, the number of audio and video on-demand streams in the U.S. could reach 1.181 trillion, up from 901 billion for the entirety of 2018, according to Nielsen Music.

The 1 trillion-stream threshold speaks to the explosion of streaming over the past decade, particularly as Spotify only launched in the United States in 2011, while other major players like Apple Music and Amazon did not enter the streaming music space until much later. When Nielsen Music began tracking total audio and video streams in its annual reports on the U.S. music industry, which it did beginning in 2014 covering the year prior, the number of total on-demand streams for the year was 118.1 billion -- 1/10th of what it's projected to reach by the end of 2019.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the current population of the United States is 330 million people. That means so far in 2019, every single American would have streamed 3,030 songs on average to reach 1 trillion.

"Surpassing 1 trillion on-demand streams in less than a year underscores how fans are continuing to evolve in the way they listen to music," David Bakula, head of analytics & insights at Nielsen Music, told Billboard in a statement. "This explosive growth is being driven by today's younger, more connected music fan, with 90% of teens and millennials streaming music. Accessibility to new technology, affordable premium streaming plans and the proliferation of connected devices will only serve to expedite the next trillion on-demand streams."