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U.S. MUSIC Mid-Year Nielsen Report 2018

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The music industry is in the midst of a growth spurt that has led to 15-year record revenues for the major label groups and continues to break new consumption records for the first half of 2018. Total album equivalent consumption, which includes physical and digital album sales, song sales and on-demand audio and video song streams are up 18%.*

On-demand song streaming activity is reaching new milestones, with volume surpassing 400 billion, which is offsetting declines in album and track sales. On-demand audio streaming volume is up 45%, having already exceeded 268 billion so far in 2018, and on-demand video streaming volume is up 35% year-over-year.

Drake and Post Malone had the highest volume of on-demand audio streams out of any artists in the U.S., with 3.3 billion and 3.1 billion, respectively, but higher album sales put Post Malone on top of all artists in total album equivalent consumption. Drake’s “God’s Plan” is the most on-demand streamed song of the year to date.

Ed Sheeran leads all pop artists so far this year, as his song “Perfect” is the top pop single for streaming and radio airplay spins, while Imagine Dragons dominated the rock genre with three of the top five rock songs: “Thunder,” “Believer” and “Whatever it Takes.”

Insights from Nielsen Audio show that adult contemporary (AC) radio is broadening its influence as a mass appeal format and gaining popularity among Millennials. Since the first half of 2016, AC has grown from the fifth to the third most-listened to format among Millennials (behind pop and country) during the first half of 2018.

*The term “total album equivalent consumption” in this report describes the number of physical and digital albums that were sold and the total number of album equivalent songs from downloads and song streaming volume. For the sake of clarity, the definition of album equivalent consumption does not include listening to music on broadcast radio or digital radio broadcasts. Unless otherwise noted, all numbers are volume.

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