The Wall Street Journal: Music streams in U.S. topped 1 trillion in 2019

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U.S. music streams on services like Spotify Technology AB SPOT, -0.65%  , Apple Music AAPL, +2.12%   and Alphabet’s GOOGL, +1.05% GOOG, +1.10%   YouTube rose 30% last year to top one trillion for the first time, according to Nielsen Music’s annual report, fueled by big releases from artists like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Post Malone.

Streaming services have upended how people listen to and pay for music, and now account for 82% of music consumption in the U.S., according to Nielsen. Sales of physical albums, meanwhile, dropped off 19% in 2019 and now make up just 9% of overall music consumption.

The year also saw the rise of the social video-sharing app TikTok, which helped spark viral hits that went on to become streaming sensations. Lil Nas X’s country-rap hit “Old Town Road” became meme fodder on the app early last year and was the most-consumed song of 2019, with 2.5 billion on-demand streams. It also became the record holder for most weeks spent atop the Billboard Hot 100.

Hip-hop, which has risen in popularity along with music-streaming, continued its reign as the biggest genre, with a 28% share of total listening, followed by rock at 20% and pop at 14%. Rapper Post Malone, whose albums have broken various streaming records, was the top artist of 2019 by a combination of sales and streams. Drake, Eilish, Swift and Ariana Grande round out the top five.

An expanded version of this report appears on

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