Apple Music comes at a pretty critical time. People in the US streamed nearly twice as much music during the first half of 2015 than they did during the same period a year ago, while digital song sales dropped just over 10 percent, according to Billboard's report on the latest Nielsen stats. In total, Nielsen measured a 92 percent jump up to 135.2 billion streamed songs. It's the latest sign that digital downloads are, like the CD, slowly on their way out, while streaming is quickly becoming the new way to acquire and listen to music.
Total album sales only dropped 4 percent
That said, buying singles and albums isn't dead — and the industry is likely still making far more money there. Nielsen measured 160 million digital song downloads and 116.1 million total album sales for the first half of the year. Those are big figures, especially when you consider that those billions of streamed songs bring in a small fraction of the money that even a single track sale does. As you could probably guess, Taylor Swift came out on top on album sales, followed by Drake.
What's really interesting about Nielsen's measured streaming rise is that it isn't all audio. In fact, the biggest leap was in video — a 109 percent increase — up to 76.6 billion streams, more than half of the total figure. It's not stated where people are doing all of that streaming, but the music video is clearly still very much a thing online. Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" reportedly saw 109.9 million audio streams versus 258.1 million video streams. If anything, that sounds like good news for YouTube, if not also streaming services like Apple Music that include music videos.