Americans Streamed 1 Trillion Songs Last Year, But Their Real Interest Was Music Videos

January 10, 2020, 6:14 PM UTC
Teenage girl and boy listening music from smart phone while showing to friends in city
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American demand for streaming music soared last year, with listeners streaming more than 1 trillion songs for the first time. And more and more, we’re just as interested in watching our music as listening to it.

A new study from Nielsen finds that we streamed 1.15 trillion songs on services ranging from Spotify to YouTube. That’s 29.3% jump over the previous year.

Video music saw an explosion in viewers, though, spiking 40.7% to 401.2 billion views. Audio streams beat that actual total, with 745.7 billion streams, but that was just a 23.8% climb.

It’s one of the most authoritative signs to date about the shifting listening habits of Americans and could indicate an approaching one, as fans look to emulate the dance moves of their favorite artists such as Billie Eilish.

Physical music sales continued to decline, falling 15% even as vinyl continued its resurgence.

“Old Town Road,” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, was the year’s top song, streaming 2.5 billion times. Other big artists include Eilish, Post Malone and Lizzo.

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