Luminate's analysis of music sales and consumption trends shows 2022 was another strong year for the music biz. Total album consumption in the U.S. (which combines album sales and the equivalent value of song streams and sales) jumped 9.2% to 974.9 million.
That’s a couple of ticks higher than an 11.3% gain in 2021. U.S. on-demand audio streams hit the trillion mark for the first time ever in a single year in 2022, rising 12.1% to 1.1 trillion. Digital track sales continued their downward spiral, tumbling 25.1% to 151.9 million. And while total album sales (physical and digital) registered another year-over-year decline (-8.2% to 110.1 million) two vintage formats continued to rebound. Vinyl album sales grew 4.2% to 43.5 million, accounting for more than half of physical album sales and more than 40% of total album sales. Cassette sales are also in comeback mode although their contribution is far smaller, surging 28% to 440,000.
Music consumption tilted further toward older titles in 2022. Catalog’s share of the consumption pie rose to 72.2% from 69.8% in 2021 while current music’s share fell from 30.2% to 27.8% over the same time period. Catalog total album consumption shot up 12.9% to 703.9 million while current total album consumption was up fractionally to 270.9 million.
In his coverage of the report, veteran music industry analyst Geoff Mayfield notes that catalog share has increased every year since streaming became the dominant moneymaker for the record industry. “We’re now measuring what people are actually listening to, while the album charts that guided the business for all of its prior history only measured what consumers bought,” he writes in Variety. And record industry execs interviewed by Variety seem unconcerned over the dwindling consumption share of current music. “I think it’s good that music fans are discovering great music, regardless of the era it came from. We should be agnostic as an industry to how someone wants to attach to something. It cannot always be about a new release,” said a senior executive at a major label. “If they decide to spend five minutes or four minutes on a song, or 30 or 40 minutes on an album from a particular artist, regardless of when it came out, it’s a good thing for the business.”
Consumption Means Vary Artist To Artist
Looking at the music landscape over the past year through the lens of how different artists in different genres engaged with fans to launch successful album campaigns, Luminate found a more nuanced picture of how audiences consume music. Last year saw new blockbuster albums from Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Bad Bunny. While each earned No. 1 positions on the Billboard 200 when they debuted, each artist was propelled to the top spot with a different mix of consumption means.
Bad Bunny did it with 100% digital offerings (streaming and digital albums) for his album “Un Verano Sin It.” Conversely, only 55% of the first-week consumption numbers for Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” were digital. Digital consumption of Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” via digital means was even lower, clocking in at 38% of the first-week consumption numbers. Remarkably, Swift’s physical product offerings made up 62% through multiple vinyl and CD offerings for fans, and “Midnights” sold 575,000 vinyl copies in its first week, breaking a record previously set by Harry Styles in May. Swift also achieved 1.58 million equivalent albums upon the first seven days of release, making it the biggest release week in seven years.