2019 U.S. On-Demand Audio Streams Surpass Half-Trillion, Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank U, Next’ First Album to Reach 2 Billion Streams This Year

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Ariana Grande performs on Coachella Stage during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 14, 2019 in Indio, Calif.

Plus: Overall U.S. on-demand song streams (audio and video combined) aiming to surpass 1 trillion in 2019.

Music streaming continues to become an incredibly popular means of consuming music in the U.S., as year-to-date on-demand audio streams of songs have now surpassed the half-trillion mark.

In the week ending Sept. 12, there were 14.8 billion on-demand audio streams registered according to Nielsen Music, bringing 2019’s total to 505.5 billion. That’s up 23% compared to the same time a year ago: 409.6 billion year-to-date through the week ending Sept. 13, 2018. (The 2019 Nielsen Music tracking year began on Jan. 4.)

Impressively, the 2019 half-trillion mark was reached two months faster than in 2018, when the industry waited until the week ending Nov. 8 to surpass a half-trillion on-demand audio streams.

2018 was also the first year on-demand audio streams hit a half-trillion, finishing the year with 611 billion (up 49% from 2017’s total of 409 billion*).

Further, also in the week ending Sept. 12, 2019, Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next album surpassed 2 billion on-demand audio streams for its songs in 2019, making it the first album to reach the 2 billion mark for the year. It continues to be the album with the most streams for its songs in 2019. Thank U’s songs garnered 20.6 million streams in the week ending Sept. 12, bringing its 2019 total to 2.007 billion.

The second-most-streamed album of 2019, in terms of on-demand audio song streams, is Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, with 1.887 billion. (Nielsen Music’s streaming totals for albums includes streams of the album’s songs registered before the album’s release, but during the tracking period. For example, Thank U, Next includes streams of its title track and “7 Rings” for Jan. 4 through Feb. 7 before the album was released on Feb. 8.)

For the full year of 2018, five albums tallied at least 2 billion in on-demand audio streams for their songs, led by Drake’s Scorpion, with 4.572 billion.

In terms of total on-demand streams — combining both audio and video — 2019’s year-to-date total stands at 775.3 billion (up 28% compared to the same point in 2018, which was 603.9 billion through the week ending Sept. 13, 2018).

The 2018 year closed with 901 billion overall on-demand streams, up 43% compared to 2017’s total of 631.2 billion*. At the rate 2019 is piling up streams, this year could be the first where total on-demand streams surpass 1 trillion in the U.S.

*Nielsen Music’s 2018 tracking year ran from Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019. Due to a quirk in the calendar, there were 53 weeks in 2018 instead of the usual 52. So, for 2018 volume comparisons to 2017, a corresponding 53-week period is used by Nielsen Music for 2017: Dec. 30, 2016 through Jan. 4, 2018.

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