Drake, hip-hop and classic rock dominated 2018 US album consumption

Drake attends The Mod Sèlection Champagne New Years Party Hosted By Drake And John Terzian at Delilah on December 31, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Industry analyst BuzzAngle-Music has released its 2018 US music consumption figures. Here are five key findings and their repercussions.

We’re constantly being told that the way we consume is changing by retail experts and media outlets. Realistically, this should be phrased as “has changed” rather than “is changing” as the dominance of online platforms is not exactly new, neither is the decline of the high street and shopping centres.

Obviously, music is no exception and industry analyst BuzzAngle-Music’s (BAM) latest figures on US music consumption in 2018 point to some very real presents and may help us predict some very likely futures. Let’s look at five key takeaways from its 2018 year-end report.

KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018

Streaming is king: Streaming is on the up and up and up and it’s not likely to stop. In 2018, BAM’s figures showed that total on-demand streams (audio and video) reached a new zenith with 809.5 billion streams, up 35% on 2017 (598 billion). The sheer ease of instant access and depth of library that streaming services provide is astonishing and I can only see that figure improving again in 2019, putting a further dent is sales figures.

Don’t believe the naysayers: Many will have you believe the music industry is on its knees but song and album consumption both saw significant growth in the US in 2018, according to BAM’s data. Song consumption was up 27.4% on 2017 while album consumption was up 16.2% and so, and in line with the above point, music is in a healthy place with more consumer engagement than ever before – it’s just the way it’s consumed that has changed.

Drake dominates the US market: The Canadian hip-hop star dominated 2018 in the US, topping BAM’s album and song consumption lists with Scorpion and God’s Plan respectively. Expect Drake to continue to dominate 2019, especially given that he’s already said he’s working on a follow-up album to Scorpion.

Hip-hop is the dominant US genre: Hip-hop was the most consumed genre in the US in 2018, with 21.7% of the market share for albums. Pop was second on that list with 20.1%, while rock was third with 14%. Hip-hop also topped the BAM song consumption list. The zeitgeist in the US is fairly clear and hip-hop is the order of the day. Certainly, rock still has a place in the market but maybe newer forms less so, which could lead to an eventual further decline, as we’ll discover below.

Beatles Abbey Road Billborad on Sunset StripBeatles Abbey Road Billboard on Sunset Strip

Oldies still goldies: The vinyl resurgence of the past few years continued and was fuelled by classic rock with the Beatles’ Abbey Road, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours all in the top 10. Nothing resembling a modern rock album even made the top 25, which could point to a death looming for the rock genre in general as, eventually, classic rock vinyl consumers do what humans do in the coming decades and die off. Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city and Ed Sheeran’s ÷ were in the top 25, however, underlining hip-hop’s current dominance and pop’s enduring popularity.

As we can see, then, the figures point to a market that has changed and will now continue to move in a new direction. I’m not a betting man and certainly do not advocate gambling but, if I were, I’d be straight onto a betting app and ploughing cash on Drake, hip-hop and streaming to continue to dominate the US music market in 2019.

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