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US streaming subscription boom derails YouTube's music stream growth


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

January 4, 2017 | 3 min read

Video platforms such as YouTube and Vevo are losing dominance in the US streaming market thanks to the dramatic growth of streaming subscription services like Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play.

Drake's Views was the most played album of the year according to the data

Drake's Views was the most played album of the year according to the data / YouTube

A report into the US music industry from monitoring company BuzzAngle has revealed that digital video music streams grew by just 7.5% in 2016 while audio on-demand services saw streams increase by 83%, rising from 137.29bn in 2015 to 250.73bn in 2016.

The data confirmed a firm shift toward subscription models, and indicated that paid-for streams via apps like Apple Music have leapt up 124% over the past 12 months, attracting 191.36bn plays in total.

Meanwhile, on-demand music streaming funded by ads, ie Spotify Free, showed slower growth, going from 51.96bn to 59.36bn year-on-year.

2016 marked a successful year for the industry overall, with consumption of music in general up 4.2% since 2015, marking the second year of solid growth. Unsurprisingly there was a decline in physical album sales at 12% but the move towards streaming has benefited the industry on the whole, resulting in a higher average revenue-per-user and as such, greater profitability for the industry.

More than 28m unique songs were streamed last year, and with over 6.1m total album consumption units, Drake's Views was the the album of the year.

YouTube's relationship with musicians was put under pressure in 2016 after a host of A-listers and major record labels signed a petition calling for the reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Addressed to Congress, the letter was supported by the likes of Taylor Swift and U2 and asserted that the legislation allowed major tech companies such as YouTube to "grow and generate huge profits by creating ease of use for consumers to carry almost every recorded song in history in their pocket via a smartphone, while songwriters’ and artists’ earnings continue to diminish.

"Music consumption has skyrocketed, but the monies earned by individual writers and artists for that consumption has plummeted," it finished.

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