Entertainment & Arts

Audio streaming overtakes video for first time in US

Drake Image copyright AP
Image caption Drake's album Views tops both the sales and streaming chart in the US

Albums by Beyonce, Drake and Rihanna have helped music streaming services overtake video sites like YouTube and Vevo for the first time in the US.

Services like Apple Music and Spotify delivered 114 billion streams in the first six months of 2016, with video platforms on 95 billion.

Overall, the streaming market increased by 58% year-on-year.

Rihanna's Work is America's most-streamed song of 2016, while Drake's Views is the most requested album.

According to market monitor BuzzAngle, Views has been streamed 1.5 billion times since its release in April.

It is also the most-purchased album of the year so far, notching up 1.2 million sales on CD and download.

Top five US albums (streams) - January to June 2016
Album Artist Streams
1) Views Drake 1,577,175,229
2) Purpose Justin Bieber 1,304,568,530
3) Anti Rihanna 1,247,667,679
4) Trapsoul Bryson Tiller 896,162,428
5) Islah Kevin Gates 728,369,063

The only other albums to surpass 1 million sales were Beyonce's Lemonade and Adele's 25.

Adele's record was not available to stream for the first seven months of release, only becoming available on services like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and Google Play on 24 June.

Nonetheless, BuzzAngle's figures - which were calculated up to midnight on 30 June - show that 25 was streamed 168 million times in those first six days.

Top five US albums (sales) - January to June 2016
Album Artist Sales
1) Views Drake 1,274,915
2) 25 Adele 1,248,306
3) Lemonade Beyonce 1,171,638
4) Traveller Chris Stapleton 696,463
5) The Very Best of Prince Prince 553,208

The deaths of David Bowie and Prince were also reflected in the mid-year charts, with Prince's Best Of collection becoming the fifth best-seller of the year after shifting 553,208 copies.

Bowie's final album, Blackstar, was in 10th place with sales of 357,568, while Prince had a further four albums in the top 100.

The rise in streaming helped music consumption in the US grow by 6.5%, despite CD sales being down 11%, and digital album sales being down 17%.

As in the UK, vinyl sales continued to grow, going up 17% to 3.1m.

Top five US albums (sales and streams combined) - January to June 2016
Album Artist Combined consumption
1) Views Drake 2,583,132
2) Lemonade Beyonce 1,671,356
3) 25 Adele 1,606,342
4) Purpose Justin Bieber 1,316,636
5) Anti Rihanna 1,235,557

YouTube argument

The boost in audio streaming versus video streaming is likely to embolden the music industry as it negotiates new licensing deals with YouTube this summer.

Artists and record labels have been complaining that the site is "unfairly siphoning value" away from musicians and songwriters.

The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) trade body says that audio streaming generated £146m for the industry last year, while video streams brought in just £24.4m.

Last week more than 1,000 artists petitioned politicians in Europe to change laws that give online video services "safe harbour" from prosecution when their users illegally upload music.

The signatories included ABBA, Sir Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.

YouTube maintains it has paid out $3bn (£2.3bn) to the industry in recent years and says it is "working collaboratively" with the industry "to bring more money to artists".

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