I Read Luminate’s Midyear Music Report So You Don’t Have To

Every year Luminate (formerly Nielsen Music) shares an annual and midyear report on different insights and trends within the music industry. Luminate uses data to report on different continuations and changes in the industry. As we’ve hit the mid-year mark, it’s a great time to reflect on how music has performed so far and how music might perform for the rest of the year. The report is full of data and charts that can be a little intimidating and time consuming to read, so I’ve read it so that you don’t have to. 

Before we dive into the highlights of this report, here are some terms that will make this information easier to understand. 

  • Total Album Consumption (TAC) is a calculation that combines all on-demand track streams, track downloads, and all album sales (digital and physical)
  • ‘Current’ music is anything that has been released in the 18 months prior to it getting streamed/downloaded/purchased
  • ‘Catalog’ music is anything that is older than 18 months prior to getting streamed/downloaded/purchased

Now without further ado, here are three of the most noteworthy findings from the Midyear Report for 2022. 

Catalog Music is More In Demand Than Current Music

I have some good news and some potentially confusing news. The good news is that music streaming, overall, has increased. In the first half of this year music streaming increased by 9.3%. The confusing news is that music streaming for ‘Current’ music has declined. What exactly does this mean? Well, in order for overall music consumption to have increased that means that a majority of Total Album Consumption is coming from ‘Catalog’ streams, which are any releases older than 18 months to when it is streamed. There has been a 19% increase in catalog streaming so far in 2022.

This might not be a surprise though with songs like Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” gaining a 16,867% streaming increase after its placement in Season 4 of Stranger Things and reentering the Billboard Top 5, about 27 years after its initial release. The sync placement helped this gem regain popularity, but TikTok most likely played a part in the increase of streams, as well. Currently, there are over 2.6 million videos that use “Running UpThat Hill (A Deal With God)” as a sound. Bush’s song is another example of how TikTok is becoming the main platform of music discovery for Gen Z, with 66% of the group saying that this is where they find new music.

It is also important to note that a majority of catalog streams have come from music released from 2017-2019. This might be a concerning statistic for any current musicians, but if anything, it should be encouraging to know that in the world of streaming, music no longer has an expiration date and can be enjoyed at any time. 

Physical Albums Aren’t Totally Out 

With streaming being the way that a majority of people consume their music, there has been a natural decline in the sale of physical albums. However, vinyl sales have been climbing the past few years and still are in 2022, especially new releases. Physical sales so far have opposed the previously mentioned trend of music streaming.  ‘Current’ vinyl album sales are up 27.4% higher than they were this time last year, while ‘Catalog’ vinyl sales declined 8.4% compared to last year. 

Since 2019, there has been a 361% increase in vinyl sales, which is most likely why Harry Styles’ third album Harry’s House, broke the modern-era record for the most vinyl album sales in one week, with 182,000 sales. That isn’t the only indicator of vinyl’s relevance in current music consumption. Tyler, the Creator’s CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST vinyl release resulted in 50,000 sales in its first week of release. This release came 10 months after the album's initial release, and caused it to return to number 1 on the Billboard 200. 

Music Is A Universal Language

Music has always had a global reach, but Luminate found that there is a link between countries that share a similar language and the popular songs there. Luminate created an indicator called the Luminate Similarity Score, which measures streaming similarities of popular songs in one country compared to others. This score was found by comparing the streaming numbers of the top 10,000 songs in a country compared to another country that spoke the same language.

For example, in the first half of 2022, Canada had the most similarities to the United States when it came to streaming music. Following closely behind were other English-speaking countries: Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, and South Africa. This trend was also similar for Mexico with the top countries with the most similar streaming behaviors all being Spanish-speaking countries. This information can be helpful when trying to figure out where to push album or single-releases. 

So What Do You Do With This Information?

Whether you are an independent artist, work in the music industry, or you just stumbled upon this blog, this info can be encouraging going into the rest of the year. Overall trends are showing that people are still eagerly consuming music. Although it might look like a lot of infographics and charts, The Luminate Report tells a story that gives you tools to know how to approach the ever changing industry.

The findings at this point in the year could swiftly change by the end of the year. This is not a statement that should entice fear, but should encourage excitement. This industry is constantly evolving which allows artists to evolve and grow with it. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing the trends at the end of the year. See you then!

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