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Science Says YouTube Is Growing Faster Than All Other Music Streaming Platforms Combined

More than 76 billion music video streams were delivered in the first half of 2015.

Another day, another new music streaming service—or so it seems. As Spotify, Google Play, Rdio, and others continue to duke it out for subscribers, it’s no surprise that good ol’ fashioned (and free) YouTube remains many folks’ go-to. But just how much YouTube and similar sites are crushing the competition is pretty remarkable: According to new data from Nielsen Music, video music streaming sites like YouTube/Vevo are growing 60.6 percent faster than all on-demand audio streaming services combined, paid or free.


That breaks down to 76.6 billion music video streams over the first half of 2015, a spike of more than 109 percent from the same time the year before. Compare that to just 58.6 billion streams total for audio-only music streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody. It'll be interesting to see what happens if and when YouTube comes through on its own two subscription services—Music Key, which has been in beta since last November, and another to-be-named service—which are reportedly launching by the end of 2015.

Despite the well-worn narrative of the music industry's decline, it turns out people are consuming more music overall, via both streaming or traditional platforms, than they have in a while—about 14 percent more in the last year alone.

Streaming is the fastest-growing way people are getting their music today; it's also becoming one of the most lucrative. Over 135 billion songs were streamed in the first six months of 2015, a 92.4 percent jump from the same time last year. Digital album sales, by comparison, are basically flat, digital tracks are down 10 percent, and physical albums sales—well, let's not even go there.

The one traditional format bucking the trend is vinyl, whose sales were up more than 38 percent from last year, accounting for nearly 9 percent of all physical album sales in the first half of the year (the top seller, by the way, was Taylor Swift’s 1989).

Remember kids, it's like Jack White said: Digital in the car, vinyl in the bedroom, baby.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter.