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Nielsen: Music Streaming, Vinyl Sales Up In First Half

New York – Streaming and vinyl were the U.S. music industry’s growth categories in the first half, while sales of CDs and music downloads were down, Nielsen Music found.

The number of on-demand audio-only music  streams rose 74.2 percent to 58.6 billion, and the number of music videos streamed rose 109.2 percent to 76.6 million. Combined streaming growth hit 92.4 percent to 135.2 billion streams, Nielsen said.

Sales of downloaded tracks fell 10.4 percent to 531.6 million, while album downloads slipped only 0.1 percent to 53.7 million. Album downloads “showed some resiliency” in the first half after falling almost 10 percent in 2014, thanks to “some strength of new releases” led by Drake’s If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, Nielsen said.

Here are some other first-half metrics uncovered by Nielsen:

CD sales: 56.6 million, down 10 percent.

LP/vinyl: 5.6 million, up 38.4 percent, to reach 10 percent of CD unit sales 

Total albums (including digital albums, CD, cassette, and vinyl): 116.1 million, down 4 percent.

Overall album consumption grew 14.2 percent to 259.4 million, consisting of all physical and digital albums plus track-equivalent albums and streaming-equivalent albums. Track-equivalent albums are calculated as 10 downloaded tracks equaling one digital album. Streaming-equivalent albums are calculated as 1,500 streams equaling one album.

Total digital music consumption was up 23.1 percent to 197 million units, consisting of digital albums, track-equivalent digital albums, and streaming-equivalent albums.

In 2014, Nielsen found digital album sales down almost 10 percent, track downloads down 12 percent, and vinyl sales up 52 percent, rising for the ninth consecutive year. Total streams (audio and video combined) were up 54 percent.