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Music Fans to New Music: We’re Just Not That Into You

New data shows that overall music consumption grew, but the consumption of new music dipped…

By Paul Marszalek

The money machine that is the current music business keeps chugging along, posting another strong first half when compared to the same period in 2021. This, according to the Luminate Midyear Music Report.

Luminate is the former MRC Data, which, in turn, was the former consumer tracking arm of Nielsen.

When it comes to music consumption, the pie just keeps getting bigger. First half ’22 audio streams were up nearly 25% year-over-year, to 1.6 trillion. Video grew even more – up 28% to 901.5 billion.

Interestingly, for the second year in a row, the share of current music – defined as released within the last 18 months – dropped in real numbers, fueling a significant decline in the share of new music consumed.

Total streaming-equivalent album consumption slipped from 133.1 million to 131.3 million — a decline of 1.4% year-over-year. Meanwhile, catalog album consumption boomed from 302m to 344m. That’s a jump of 14%. As the pie grew, the growth came from catalog.

Wonderers are wondering why – a dearth of big name releases? A general lack of anything fresh to get excited about? Proof that looking at Shazam is not the same as old school A&R? Blame Kate Bush? It could be all of those.

But it could also be related to who is driving the growth of streaming. One could argue that upper demos are finally converting to the streaming model, and as they do, they listen to more catalog.

Likely, it’s a number of these factors. But again, the consumption of “current” albums is down in real numbers as well as overall percentage. As it stands, share of catalog jumped to 72.4% versus 27.6 for current releases.

Only exciting new music will reverse this trend.

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