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Audio streaming becomes more popular than video for first time in the US

For the first time ever, more people in the US have streamed music through audio streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music than through video services such as YouTube and Vevo, according to analytical service BuzzAngle Music.

The company’s mid-year report shows that music services recorded 114 billion streams in the first six months of 2016, up 107.8 percent from 2015, whereas video platforms reached 95 billion, up 23.1 percent. The audio services’ 55 percent share of total music streams marks the first time they have overtaken video. Overall, on-demand music streams increased 58.3 percent from the first half of 2015.

Rihanna leads the pack when it comes to the most popular song; “Work” has been streamed over 500 million times across both video and audio services. R&B singer and popular meme subject Drake has the most popular album – Views – which has been streamed over 1.5 billion times, with 1.4 billion of these streams coming from audio sites.

It looks as if streaming is replacing the traditional ways of listening to music. The data shows that digital sales of albums dropped 17.7 percent from last year, and even the increase in Vinyl’s popularity couldn’t stop overall physical sales dropping almost 10 percent.

The massive number of people choosing to stream their music is one of the reasons why current streaming king Spotify is embroiled in a war of words with Apple over the Cupertino company’s cut of subscription fees. The iPhone maker may have dropped its take to 85/15, but the offer still isn’t good enough for Spotify.

The data may also affect the current negotiations between music labels and YouTube. While those in the music industry have complained about both audio and video streaming services in the past, most artists single out YouTube for apparently not paying them enough. There’s every chance that labels will now point to the slight shift away from video as a way of getting better licensing deals from YouTube.