The first half of 2019 saw a six-month record of over 507 billion on-demand streams, an exciting new milestone led by singles and albums by Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, BTS, Lil Nas X and Bad Bunny that span a wide array of genres, moods and even languages.
The Nielsen report used a 24-week period for this year, running from January, 4 through June 20; while last year’s corresponding period ran from December 29, 2017, through June 14, 2018.The mid-year report by Nielsen Music highlights the key factors which showed growth and progress in the first half of 2019.
Trap & Mumble Rap’s influence continues
2018’s most popular music trend continued to gain ground in 2019’s first half. R&B-infused Trap & Mumble Rap was still the preferred musical style at a high margin over the second favourite, Contemporary Rhythmic Pop, thanks in part to popular songs from Post Malone, Lil Nas X and DaBaby, among many others. Other leading styles this year include Contemporary Pop Power Ballad, Pop Reggaeton and Urban Contemporary.
Music featured in film & TV sees an upward trend from 2018
Many of the year’s biggest music moments so far have been aided by exposure in popular films, documentaries & award shows. Not only did the 2019 Academy Awards reverse the downward ratings trend of 2018’s all-time low telecast (29.6 million viewers, up 12% year-over-year), this year’s Oscars gave a major bump to Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” which took home the trophy for Best Original Song and sent the anthemic A Star Is Born duet to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending Feb. 28 on the strength of consumption peaks across the board, the report stated.
Many of the year’s most-consumed songs and albums had roots on screens big and small
A 17% lift was recorded in both US streams (to 47.6 million) and radio audience listenership (to 60.8. Million) for Post Malone & Swae Lee’s “Sunflower,” all thanks to the holiday box office success of “Spider Man: Into The Spider-Verse”. Also making a record was Queen who sold 731,000 albums driven by the February VOD release of hit biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Beyoncé’s Homecoming, the surprise soundtrack to her Netflix documentary, saw 38,000 album equivalent units earnings during the release week ending April 27th.
Global pop expands
After achieving record consumption in 2018, K-Pop reached a new critical mass this year thanks to new releases from supergroups BTS and BlackPink. BTS’Map of the Soul: Persona saw 230,000 equivalent album units earnings ending April 12, a career best for the K-pop group. BTS and Halsey’s “Boy With Luv”, which was performed at the Billboard Music Awards on May 1, gained 125 million YTD streams. Also, BlackPink’s “Kill This Love,” which broke the band’s own record for highest-charting single by a K-Pop girl group on the Billboard Hot 100, recorded 18.6 million first-week on-demand streams during the week ending April 20.
Latin’s female power
The Latin genre saw continued growth in the first half of 2019 with a flurry of pop hits from female artists on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. This included several crossover singles featuring English-language pop stars. 216 million on-demand streams YTD for the bilingual remix of Daddy Yankee’s “Con Calma” featuring Katy Perry. 26 million on-demand streams for Natti Natasha’s “Me Gusta”. 14 million on-demand streams YTD for Madonna’s “Medellin” featuring Maluma.
DJ/producer Marshmello’s in-game concert on popular live-streamed game “Fortnite” led to major gains in the artist’s catalog. 13,000 equivalent units were earned of Marshmello: Fortnite Extended Set in its debut week, during the week ending Feb. 7, Marshmello’s largest sales week to date. 316% sales increase was recorded for Marshmello’s album Joytime II in the week following his “Fortnite”appearance. Songs by Marshmello & Bastille’s “Happier” spent 40 weeks being as No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance.
TikTok: Music’s new hitmaker
No emerging app helped break more songs in 2019 than TikTok (formerly Musical.ly), with a global reach of 500 million users tuning into its short-form video clips. 8.8 million US streams for the song the week ending March 7, when “Old Town Road” debuted at No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100 fuelled by the TikTok viral challenge. 1.3 billion total on-demand streams YTD for “Old Town Road,”making it the year’s most-consumed song. 7.4 million YTD audience at country radio, where the song has picked up listeners for its popular remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.
Lastly, LPs continue to show strength and lend resilience to physical albums, as independent retail events like Record Store Day continue to bring music fans in droves. This year’s celebration led to the highest non-holiday sales total at independent retail since 2005, and extended vinyl’s hot streak as the format increases 19% year-to-date.
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