How many hit songs matter? – Billboards

For years, technology and media executives have said that the era of blockbusters is over. Now that online consumers can choose from tens of millions of tracks available online, hits inevitably become less important than the sheer sheer volume of music that author Chris Anderson calls ” long tail” in 2004. Hits, Anderson writes, will no longer be “the decent economic force they once were.”

The reality of the music streaming market is very different. Last year, drake reached 6.16 billion on-demand audio streams in the US, according to MRC Data – more than any other artist and 0.7% of the total 877.2 billion. That number exceeds the 4.74 billion streams generated by the 53.69 million tracks that were streamed less than 1,000 times each.

For all the changes in the music business – now dominated by digital over physical and streaming more than sales – hits are as important as ever. In 2020, nearly half of the 877.2 billion on-demand audio streams in the US come from just 13,521 songs that have been streamed over 10 million times – or 0.022% of the titles tracked by MRC Data.

To see if visits are dominating the business, Billboards used analysis of MRC Data on On-Demand Streaming to separate the 2020 market into five “bundles”: songs streamed over 10 million times; from 1 million to 10 million times; from 50,000 to 1 million times; from 100 to 50,000 times; and 100 times less. To compare today’s industry with that of 25 years ago, Billboards then consider a 1995 report from MRC Data’s predecessor, Nielsen SoundScan, which split that year’s sales into albums that sold more than 250,000 copies; from 25,000 to 250,000 copies; from 5,000 to 25,000 copies; and less than 5,000 copies.

Courteous photo

Visits are still important by any measure. Combined, the first two sets of songs streamed more than 1 million times – including 96,779 tracks, or just 0.16% of the 61.2 million available – accounting for more than three-quarters of total streaming. on-demand a little bit. On the other end of the spectrum, even with the 68.72% discount of the available tracks being streamed 100x less, many of which were presumably uploaded by hobbyists, 18.26 million songs have been streamed between 100 and 50,000 times – the much-praised long number tails make up 29.8% of the songs – accounting for just 6.25% of total streams. Culturally, the easy accessibility of digital distribution represents a revolution. However, in music, it is not a business.

Market concentration was similar in 2018 and 2019 for different line groups, with fluctuations not exceeding 0.5%. Likewise, the number of titles in each group yielded similar percentages in 2018 and 2019 with a spread of no more than 20 basis points or 0.2%. However, the bottom quintile with 1 to 100 plays – the long-tail group with the most titles – as a percentage of overall titles, grew by almost two percentage points from 2018 to 2020, starting at 66.9%. 2019 title; slightly increased to 67.1% in 2019 and then 68.7% of total tiles in 2020.

Back in 1995, 336 albums that had sold more than 250,000 copies – 0.2% of the nearly 147,000 releases at the time – generated nearly 40% of sales. Combined with the second group of albums, which have sold between 25,000 and 250,000 copies, that means 3,328 albums, or 2.2% of releases, representing 72.5% of total sales.

At least part of the reason why such a small percentage of songs make up such a large percentage of total streaming is because there’s so much more music available than there was back then. While consumers in 1995 could choose from 146,693 albums – which in total could contain between 1.5 million and 1.75 million songs – in 2020, MRC Data tracked 61,189,195 songs, equivalent to about 5 million to 6 million albums. But the unpopular music business didn’t really boom. In 1995, 91.3% of the releases sold under 5,000 copies accounted for 11% of sales, while in 2020, 98.56% of the releases were streamed less than 50,000 times accounting for 6.34% online consumption.

The idea that the long tail represents an important business opportunity is also unacceptable – at least when it comes to music streaming. In 1995, a total of 134,000 albums that sold under 5,000 copies each accounted for 67 million in total sales and brought in about $536 million in sales, assuming an average wholesale price of $8 per album. Last year, however, 60.3 million songs in the last two groups – streamed less than 50,000 times each and 98.6% of the songs available – for a total of 55.64 billion plays, or 6.43% of the total, and generated only $295 million in revenue, assuming a combined per-stream ratio of $0.0053. In other words, even before inflation hit, the music business wasn’t half the size of a quarter-century ago. It turns out that after all, hits still have a certain vitality.

A version of this story will appear in Issued December 18, 2021 belong to Advertising panel.

https://www.billboard.com/pro/hit-songs-streaming-music-market-consolidation/ How many hit songs matter? – Billboards

Dais Johnston

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