U.S. Music Consumption Saw Double-Digit Growth in 2023 as Streaming Surged, Sales Rebounded

Taylor Swift dominated the U.S. market in 2023 by accounting for nearly 1.8% of music consumption (measured as album sales plus track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums, audio only) and one out of every 78 audio streams, according to Luminate’s 2023 year-end report released Wednesday (Jan. 10). But even without Swift, last year Americans streamed a record amount of music and purchased more albums than the year before. 

U.S. music consumption grew 12.6% in 2023 to 1.1 billion units (measured as album sales plus track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums). With that double-digit gain, the U.S. market easily exceeded the 9.2% improvement from 2022 and had its biggest one-year gain since consumption grew 15% in 2019.  

The streaming market picked up momentum in 2023 despite on-demand services already reaching mainstream status and subscription prices increasing in recent years. On-demand song streaming — both audio and video — climbed 14.6% to 1.5 trillion streams, an improvement on the 12.2% growth in 2022 and 10% growth in 2021. On-demand audio streams from services such as Spotify and Apple Music rose 12.7% to 1.2 trillion.  

It was another good year for vinyl LPs and CDs as consumers continued to keep the album format alive in an era of single-serving music. Overall U.S. album sales rose 5.2% to 105.3 million — a rebound from 2022, when overall sales fell by 8.2%. Physical album sales grew 8.9% to 87 million while digital album sales fell 9.3% to 18.3 million.  

Repeating a trend seen in recent years, the music Americans consumed in 2023 got a little older. The share of album consumption for catalog — releases more than 18 months old — was 72.6%, a slight increase from 72.2% in 2022. Total catalog album consumption increased 13.2% to 796.8 million units. Current music’s share of album consumption dropped to 27.4%, though current album consumption still increased in unit terms, rising 10.9% to 300.4 million units.  

In the year it celebrated its 50th anniversary, hip-hop was the most popular genre in the United States with a 25.3% share of album units (album sales plus track equivalent albums plus streaming equivalent albums) — even though no hip-hop song topped the Hot 100 until Doja Cat‘s “Paint the Town Red” did it in September. Rock was No. 2 with a 19.4% share and pop was No. 3 with a 12.3% share. Country and Latin rounded out the top five with 8.4% and 6.9% shares, respectively.  

Rock led album sales with a 41.5% share, more than triple No. 2 hip-hop’s 12.9% share and No. 3 pop’s 12.7% share. Country was No. 4 with a 7.8% share and World — mainly K-pop — was No. 5 with a 6.9% share. 

In terms of growth rate, World music — which also includes J-pop, or Japanese pop, and Afrobeats — topped all other genres with a 26.2% increase in U.S. on-demand audio streams to 5.7 billion. No. 2 Latin was close behind with 24.1% growth but was far larger with 19.4 billion on-demand audio streams. Country was No. 3 in terms of growth, up 23.7% and with a total of 20.4 billion on-demand audio streams.  

On the other end of the spectrum was comedy, which excels at YouTube and TikTok but lost 10.2% of its on-demand audio streams in 2023. New age fell 6.9% and children’s music dropped 6.2%.  

Led by Peso Pluma, Regional Mexican grew 60% to 21.9 billion U.S. on-demand audio streams, with Peso ranking No. 43 overall in U.S. on-demand audio streams with 1.9 billion. Another rising Regional Mexican artist, the group Eslabon Armado, amassed 1.3 billion U.S. on-demand audio streams — good for No. 71 overall.  

J-pop totaled 1.67 billion on-demand audio streams (of J-pop tracks ranked in the top 10,000 world music songs). J-pop’s success comes from a youth movement: Fans are 95% more likely than the general population to be Generation Z and 94% more likely to identify as LGBTQ+, according to Luminate. 

Direct-to-consumer album sales increased 38.6% to 11.8 million units as record labels put greater resources behind selling albums to their fans from artist and label websites. Rock was the D2C leader with a 38.6% share, followed by pop with 18.3% and R&B/hip-hop with 13.2%. D2C vinyl sales grew by 1.9 million to 6.8 million, up from 4.8 million in 2022. D2C CD sales rose 400,000 units to 3.9 million, up from 3.5 million.

The average U.S. monthly spend on music increased to $116 in the third quarter of 2023 from $96 in the prior-year quarter. That was about even with the $117 average monthly spend seen in the full-year 2021. Live music accounted for 62% of average monthly spend.  

Globally, on-demand song streams — both audio and video — reached 7.1 trillion, up 33.7% from 2022. Global audio on-demand streams totaled 4.1 trillion, up 22.3%. 

The United States ranked first globally in total streaming volume with 1.45 trillion, approximately 40% ahead of No. 2 India’s 1.04 trillion and nearly four times No. 3 Brazil’s 374 billion. But India ranked No. 1 in new net streams with 463.7 billion, an increase of 81% from 2022, while the United States ranked No. 2 with 184 billion net new streams and Indonesia was No. 3 with 93.1 billion net new streams (and No. 5 in total streams with 235.5 billion).

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