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BuzzAngle’s midyear report on the music industry was released last month, revealing some pleasant (& not so pleasant) surprises concerning music, the way that it’s listened to, and the revenue it generates.

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest developments about music and how it’s enjoyed by fans, then it’s not a secret or surprise to you that audio streaming has surpassed every form of music consumption. For the first time ever, audio streams have surpassed video streams. Yes, the likes of Spotify & Apple Music have surpassed YouTube, Vevo, etc as the number one way that music is streamed. Despite the fact that video streams increased by 23% to 95 billion; on-demand audio streams accounted for 114 billion of the 209.4 billion streams of the first half of 2016. Yes, you read that right! There were 209.4 billion songs streamed on-demand in the first 6 months of 2016.

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Overall streaming improved 58%, but audio streams grew 108%. That’s more than double the number of streams for the same period of 2015. Just in case you didn’t know, 150 streams = 1 song sale; and 1500 streams = 10 song sales or 1 album sale. So streams also count towards RIAA certifications.

music industry
Buzzangle Audio Streaming Graphic

Digital song sales are diminishing faster than digital album sales. Song sales are down 24% in the first half of the year. Digital album sales are also down nearly 18%. Even though single sales are down nearly 1/4th, on the digital side singles still outsell albums 9-1.

Of the 86 million album sales of the first half of 2016. 37 million were cd sales. This marks an 11% drop in the sale of the dying medium BUT depending on genre and fanbase, cd sales still matter. Adele

’s “25” has sold 1.25 million units, over 812,000 of those sales are actual physical CDs. Overall, CD’s accounted for 43% of sales in the first 6 months of 2016.

The growth of streaming and steady lowering cost of cd duplication is a great combination for independent artists. With the right strategies and properly structured budget, an indie artist can target potential fans using pinpoint demographics AND follow up with a combined sales/promo strategy for CDs.

I can’t easily explain all of the methods used to grow a streaming base, but to put it in simplest terms – an artist can include streaming links on all physical promotional items like posters, flyers, business cards, cd inserts, etc. thus allowing potential fans to access the music at their leisure on their favorite platform. Using a grassroots campaign to fuel streaming is a cost effective method for independent artists to build their streaming numbers into actual income. Of course, we know, that in the music industry, we need income.


The combination of an aggressive street team, consistent release of fresh content and placing the artists themselves in as many markets of the region as possible to meet and woo potential fans will result in a significant growth in physical interest as well as a boost in streaming numbers. Repeating this process while streamlining costs and adding relevant members to the network is the foundation for growth that can place an indie artist in the position to step up to the next level.

This level may include adding a financial partner for investment opportunities or expanding the team to grow & exploit earnings potential in a way that increases the artist’s fanbase. Independent artists must build a fanbase large enough to finance a bigger push that reaches more cities with more promo material, continuing the cycle of elevation until the artist reaches national awareness, or has an international presence or whatever the goals of the team may be.

I know that it seems like I got off subject, but really I used the “streaming” buzzword to get your attention so that I could preach the grassroots guerilla marketing gospel to you about today’s music industry. I hope that you found some insight here and that if you did, you’ll share with your friends. I appreciate you taking the time to read these words. My intention is that we all find success, this is why I share this entertainment industry information with you. It really works! Put it to use!!

Tony Guidry is the owner of A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of music industry mainstay Wendy Day – A Scratchy Throat provides professional digital marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists & indie labels. Tony is also the owner of Authentic Artists Alliance and manager of rap artist Trouble (Duct Tape Ent/2 Tru Ent). For digital marketing services or artist inquiries email: or

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