Streaming has taken over from radio listening as the way people casually consume music in the USA. American’s streamed 118.1 billion songs in 2013.

Streaming music increased by 32% during 2013. The positive note for the music industry is that people want to listen to music now more than ever … just differently to the past.

“Despite shifts in how music is consumed, we see continued growth in overall music consumption says David Bakula, SVP Industry Insights, Nielsen Entertainment. “With more than 118 billion streams in 2013 reported by our data providers, which is the approximate revenue equivalent of 59 million albums purchased, the industry remains vibrant as consumption continues to change and expand. 2013 was also great year for creative album release events.”

The most streamed song of 2013 was Baauer’s Harlem Shake’. It was listened to 489,674,000 times. The difference between streaming and radio listening is that people elect to play that song they wish to stream. On radio it is a random choice. Radio is often a background sound. Up to 92% of commercial radio listeners are passive listeners. That is, they have the radio on in the background and could not say at any given time what song they were listening to.

Streaming listeners make the active choice to listen to a song. They absorb the sound and know what they are hearing. It has become a much more powerful medium for the music industry.

The top 10 songs streamed in the USA in 2013 were:

Baauer – Harlem Shake (489,674,000)
Psy – Gangham Style (279,939,000)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop (256,954,000)
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (187,648,000)
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive (171,286,000)
Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop (153,356,000)
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (138,790,000)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us (135,758,000)
AWOLNAtion – Sail (134,483,000)
Drake – Started From The Bottom (125,465,000)

The most played radio song of 2013 was Robin Thicke ‘Blurred Lines’ 673,000 times.

The Top 10 Nielsen BDS Radio Airplay Data

Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (673,000)
Justin Timberlake – Mirrors (568,000)
Rihanna – Stay (519,000)
Bruno Mars – When I Was Your Man (517,000)
Bruno Mars – Locked Out Of Heaven (514,000)
The Lumineers – Ho Hey (502,000)
Imagine Dragons – Radio Active (493,000)
Pink – Just Give Me A Reason (479,000)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us (464,000)
Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie (462,000)

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