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After The Album How Playlists Are Re-Defining Music Consumption

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View Streaming hit a host of milestones in 2015, reaching        million subscribers and driving        billion of trade revenue, up        on 2014. While the competitive marketplace upped the ante, music services wielded curation to drive differentiation. Playlists have always been the core currency of streaming, but now more than ever they are becoming the beating heart, the fuel which drives both discovery and consumption. In doing so they are helping drive hit singles into the ascendancy and albums to the side lines. Key Findings

           year olds are the consumers most likely to be listening to less radio        and also the most likely to stream       
  • Spotify’s ‘Today’s Top Hits’ playlist has        million followers and accounted for        of all listening time on Spotify in 2015 with around        billion streams
  • ‘Today’s Top Hits’ grew at treble the rate of overall streaming in 2015 while major label playlists Topsify, Digster and Filtr drove around half a billion streams 
  • Hits become mega hits on streaming services, with Major Lazer’s ‘Lean On’ generating        million for rights owners from Spotify alone in 2015
  • Seeding tracks into playlists with large followings and relatively slow turnover of tracks is emerging as a business model in its own right
  • Curated playlists are racing to the fore but user generated playlist penetration remains at       
  • A decline in frequent creation of user generated playlists appears to be an unintended consequence of the rise of curated playlists
  •        of subscribers have stopped buying more than an album a month while        have stopped or reduced buying downloads
  • A fifth of subscribers do not listen to albums as much as when they used to buy them
  • Just        of album streams were from complete album plays in the US and UK in 2015, translating into just        billion total albums streamed
  • With a blended per stream royalty rate of        approximately        streams generate the same label income as a paid download 
  • But the value of streaming cannot be truly realised by measuring it against incumbent revenue streamsMusic subscribers in the US and UK streamed an average of        streams each in 2015, averaging        streams a week
  • The average royalty income per album per streaming user is        with        flowing to the artist and        to the songwriter
  • Everyone from artists, through labels to services needs to think more creatively about what works on streaming to create a streaming-native album successor

Companies and services mentioned in this report: Apple Music, Digster, Dubsmash, Filtr, MTV Trax, Musical.ly, MusicQubed, Sony Music, Spotify, Tidal, Topsify, Universal Music, Vevo, Warner Music, YouTube

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