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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 XXX million subscribers and driving XXX billion of trade revenue, up XXX 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 XXX year olds are the consumers most likely to be listening to less radio XXX and also the most likely to stream XXX ‘Today’s Top Hits’ playlist has XXX million followers and accounted for XXX of all listening time on Spotify in 2015 with around XXX 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 XXX 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 XXX decline in frequent creation of user generated playlists appears to be an unintended consequence of the rise of curated XXX of subscribers have stopped buying more than an album a month while XXX 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 XXX of album streams were from complete album plays in the US and UK in 2015, translating into just XXX billion total albums streamed
  • With a blended per stream royalty rate of XXX approximately XXX 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 streams
    Music subscribers in the US and UK streamed an average of XXX streams each in 2015, averaging XXX streams a week
  • The average royalty income per album per streaming user is XXX with XXX flowing to the artist and XXX style="line-height: XXX 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,, MusicQubed, Sony Music, Spotify, Tidal, Topsify, Universal Music, Vevo, Warner Music, YouTube

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