There are some indications that streaming numbers may be leveling off, but that doesn’t mean that sector of the business isn’t growing. In fact, Luminate (who used to be called Nielsen Music) found that streams hit the one trillion (that’s with a T) last year. And this was in the U.S. alone with still a month to go in the year!
A trillion is a big number and difficult to comprehend, so to put it into perspective, that’s 1,000 billions and a million millions. An even better gauge is that it represents 960,000 years worth of listening during 2022!
Harry Styles had the most streamed song during 2022 so far with “As It Was” at 558 million. This is for on-demand streams and not for free ad-supported streams, which weren’t included in the numbers provided. It adds up to around $1.7 million if you use the average Spotify stream royalty rate of $.003, but it’s no doubt much more once you add the other higher paying services in, along with the free tier streams.
Taylor Swift had a big year, especially during the week when her latest Midnights album dropped. Songs from that album accounted for 1 in every 42 songs that were streamed.
And Kate Bush had a huge year thanks to her “Running Up That Hill” being used in an episode of Netflix’s Stranger Things. The song received a boost of 21,000%, which goes to show that the power of a TV show placement.
But The Reality
The numbers look great, but this might actually be the peak year for streams as growth is really slowing. While previously there was high double-digit growth in this part of the industry, this year finds it at 11%, not bad but not like before. That said, growth in other parts of the world is still excellent at around almost 25%.
With price increases coming from most of the main music platforms, there may be some attrition among users who might find that the free tier meets their needs, especially in the middle of a recession. It will be interesting to see if the higher prices offset the number of users who choose another way to get their music.