The North America online audio section of our Statistics Compendium has seen some fascinating data added in the past few months.

Particularly in regards to how significant digital downloads and streaming are to US music fans in 2016.

We’ve collected some of the key freely available stats from the RIAA, Edison Research and GlobalWebIndex alongside a range of digital data (in-house and third-party) in the latest update to our Internet Statistics Compendium.

And I thought I would use this post to draw out some of the audio trends that have really caught my eye.

A third of US music revenue comes from streaming

To date, audio streaming has not had a reputation of being particularly lucrative to artists and labels, so it is interesting to see that according to the RIAA 34% of music revenue in the US now comes from streaming.

Streaming revenue as a proportion of all US music revenue grew 7% between 2014 and 2015.

If we look back to when Spotify launched in 2011, streaming has jumped a quite significant 25% in those four years.

And if we look at the data a little closer, streaming actually accounts for the majority of US music revenue (34.3%). It is also followed closely by paid-for digital downloads which makes up a respective 34%.

Nearly a third of the US population use Pandora

When it comes to streaming in the US, Pandora continues to lead the market according to Edison Research, with 32% of the population saying they have used the service in the last month.

This is actually a slight drop (of -2%) on 2015.

But the service still makes up an impressive 48% of the total online audio market despite healthy competition from Spotify (with 14% of the market) and Apple Music (10%).

Spotify use driven by younger listeners

GlobalWebIndex also recently published some interesting data concerning the demographics driving Pandora and Spotify use in the US.

Perhaps testament to Pandora’s age – having been founded in 2000 – the service sees its best penetration among internet users aged 25-34 and appears to be retaining users from this age bracket.

Comparatively, it is clear that younger users – aged 16-24 – are driving adoption of Spotify in the market, with 24% of internet users in that bracket using the Swedish service.

Takeaways

The US market is a fascinating study for those interested in music consumption trends.

Not only do we see legacy services still holding their own against relative newcomers such as Spotify, I was also surprised to see that seemingly well-promoted services such as Tidal are still some way from breaking into the top four.

I’m sure, though, that as revenues from streaming continue we’ll see some big changes in the sector over the next few years.

Luke Richards

Published 27 April, 2016 by Luke Richards

Luke Richards is a freelance writer and a guest blogger on Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his blog

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