UK music streaming passes 500m streams per week landmark

UK music streaming has surpassed 500m songs per week with Mark Ronson, Ed Sheeran and Rhianna helping drive the boom in audio streams.

For the week ending 16 July 505m audio streams were included in the chart, marking the first time weekly streams on services such as Spotify, Google Play and Deezer topped the half billion mark.

"It's remarkable that we now speak of billions of audio streams per month - it demonstrates vividly just how quickly streaming is being embraced," said Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry and the Brit Awards.

So far in 2015 11.5bn streams have been recorded, with more than 25bn streams predicted for the whole year, 10bn more than 2014. When YouTube is included, the total is likely to top 50bn.

Peter Robinson, editor of Popjustice, said the milestone was "a huge psychological boundary" and that resistance to streaming would be "confined to a minority".

"It also hints at how much music people will choose to listen to if there's no marginal cost involved in hitting play. This increase in music listening may offset at least some of the money artists, musicians and labels stand to lose as physical formats and paid downloads decline."

Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk was the most streamed song in the first half of 2015, played more than 45m times. The most streamed artists was Ed Sheeran, played more than 170m times, in a top five that included Sam Smith, Hozier, Drake and Rihanna.

The streaming market has grown this year with the introduction of Jay Z's Tidal and Apple Music to the market. Facebook is also reportedly on the verge of launching its own music streaming service.

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