Nielsen's Mid-Year 2016 Charts: Twenty One Pilots Dominate Rock With 'Blurryface'

Jabari Jacobs
Twenty One Pilots

On Nielsen’s 2016 mid-year rock charts, there’s Twenty One Pilots… and then there’s everyone else. The rock act has by far the most popular rock album of the year so far, as Blurryface earned 905,000 equivalent album units in the tracking period of Jan. 1 through June 30, 2016. (Equivalent album units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums [TEA] and streaming equivalent albums [SEA].) Trailing in second place is Panic! at the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor, with 577,000 units.

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Blurryface’s hit single “Stressed Out” is the top selling digital rock song at the mid-year point (1,586,000 downloads) and is the only rock song to sell more than a million copies in 2016. The No. 2 biggest selling rock tune is James Bay’s “Let It Go” with 802,000.

“Stressed Out” is also the most streamed on-demand song (audio and video combined) with 277,195,000 streams, the top on-demand rock audio song (141,619,000), and the top on-demand rock video stream (135,576,000).

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Perhaps surprisingly, just four of the top 10 most streamed rock videos were released since 2015 (and none in 2016). Further, two out of the top 10 are downright vintage: Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” Those clips were loaded to YouTube in 2008 and 2009, respectively, though their parent songs were originally released in 1975 and 1982.

A metric that Twenty One Pilots doesn’t lead is the top selling rock album of 2016, as the late David Bowie is No. 1 on that tally with Blackstar (428,000 copies sold). Blurryface is the year’s No. 3 seller (371,000), and Panic! at the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor is in second place (397,000). Blurryface excels in overall units (905,000) versus its pure album sales (371,000) thanks to the tremendous success of its songs like “Stressed Out” and “Ride,” which contribute to the album’s total units.

Overall rock album sales declined 12.5 percent in the first half of 2016, as compared to the first six months of 2015 (38,382,000 versus 43,878,000). Among all genres of music, overall album consumption (album sales plus TEA and SEA) totaled 279.9 million units for the first six months of 2016 (up 9 percent compared to the 257 million of the first half of 2015). Rock albums represented 26.8 percent of the 2016 figure.

2016’s Mid-Year Top 10 Rock Albums (Based on Overall Equivalent Album Units)
1. Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface (905,000 units)
2. Panic! at the Disco, Death of a Bachelor (577,000 units)
3. David Bowie, Blackstar (447,000 units)
4. Coldplay, A Head Full of Dreams (392,000 units)
5. David Bowie, Best of Bowie (347,000 units)
6. The Lumineers, Cleopatra (335,000 units)
7. Disturbed, Immortalized (318,000 units)
8. Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool (310,000 units)
9. Twenty One Pilots, Vessel (301,000 units)
10. James Bay, Chaos and the Calm (284,000 units)

2016’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Rock Albums
1. David Bowie, Blackstar (428,000)
2. Panic! at the Disco, Death of a Bachelor (397,000)
3. Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface (371,000)
4. Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool (289,000)
5. Coldplay, A Head Full of Dreams (236,000)
6. The Lumineers, Cleopatra (229,000)
7. Disturbed, Immortalized (183,000)
8. The 1975, I Like It When You Sleep… (157,000)
9. Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Getaway (131,000)
10. Megadeth, Dystopia (124,000)

2016’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Rock Songs
1. Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out” (1,586,000)
2. James Bay, “Let It Go” (802,000)
3. Disturbed, “The Sound of Silence” (784,000)
4. Prince and the Revolution, “Purple Rain” (563,000)
5. Twenty One Pilots, “Ride” (514,000)
6. Elle King, “Ex’s & Oh’s” (447,000)
7. Coldplay, “Adventure of a Lifetime” (435,000)
8. X Ambassadors, “Unsteady” (421,000)
9. Prince, “When Doves Cry” (397,000)
10. Prince, “Little Red Corvette” (327,000)

2016’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Rock Song Streams (Audio and Video Combined)
1. Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out” (277,195,000)
2. Twenty One Pilots, “Ride” (107,984,000)
3. Coldplay, “Adventure of a Lifetime” (77,268,000)
4. James Bay, “Let It Go” (74,466,000)
5. Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive” (69,228,000)
6. Passenger, “Let Her Go” (65,157,000)
7. Disturbed, “The Sound of Silence” (64,693,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, “Centuries” (59,728,000)
9. Twenty One Pilots, “Car Radio” (59,467,000)
10. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (58,537,000)

2016’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Rock Audio Streams
1. Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out” (141,619,000)
2. Twenty One Pilots, “Ride” (78,601,000)
3. James Bay, “Let It Go” (66,824,000)
4. Coldplay, “Adventure of a Lifetime” (55,099,000)
5. The Lumineers, “Ophelia” (38,267,000)
6. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (37,905,000)
7. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (37,409,000)
8. Elle King, “Ex’s & Oh’s” (37,393,000)
9. Coldplay, “Hymn For the Weekend” (34,463,000)
10. Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive” (33,468,000)

2016’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Rock Video Streams
1. Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out” (135,576,000)
2. Passenger, “Let Her Go” (38,338,000)
3. Disturbed, “The Sound of Silence” (36,498,000)
4. AWOLNATION, “Sail” (36,222,000)
5. Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive” (35,759,000)
6. Fall Out Boy, “Centuries” (35,746,000)
7. Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (29,653,000)
8. Twenty One Pilots, “Ride” (29,383,000)
9. Survivor, “Eye of the Tiger” (29,274,000)
10. Panic! at the Disco, “Emperor’s New Clothes” (26,988,000)