Drake and Post Malone Dominate the Nielsen Mid-Year Report

Nielsen released its annual mid-year report, which shows that Drake and Post Malone had the highest volume of on-demand audio streams out of any artists in the U.S., with 3.3 billion and 3.1 billion, respectively, but higher album sales put Post Malone on top of all artists in total album equivalent consumption. Drake’s “God’s Plan” is the most on-demand streamed song of the year to date.

Ed Sheeran leads all pop artists so far this year, as his song “Perfect” is the top pop single for streaming and radio airplay spins, while Imagine Dragons dominated the rock genre with three of the top five rock songs: “Thunder,” “Believer” and “Whatever it Takes.”

After briefly interrupting a record eight year streak on the Hot 100 last August, Drake made a triumphant return to the chart with singles “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What,” which have spent a combined 18 of the first 26 weeks of the year at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with 1.12 billion and 484 million on-demand streams, respectively. The singles previewed Drake’s blockbuster album Scorpion, which kicked off its first weekend of release on June 29 with a combined 435 million on-demand streams for its tracks, breaking the previous record for highest one-week streams for an album in just three days.

Joining forces on a full-length album for the first time as The Carters, Beyoncé and Jay-Z
shook up a busy June with the surprise release of their album Everything Is Love. The set debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with first week volume of 123,000 units in total album equivalent consumption after a two-day exclusive with Tidal. Lead single “Apes**t” was the set’s most streamed song, with 24.1 million U.S. streams in its first week.

Nielsen says that the music industry is in the midst of a growth spurt that has led to 15-year record revenues for the major label groups and continues to break new consumption records for the first half of 2018. Total album equivalent consumption, which includes physical and digital album sales, song sales and on-demand audio and video song streams are up 18%.

On-demand song streaming activity is reaching new milestones, with volume surpassing 400 billion, which is offsetting declines in album and track sales. On-demand audio streaming volume is up 45%, having already exceeded 268 billion so far in 2018, and on-demand video streaming volume is up 35% year-over-year.