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Nielsen: 2015 Music Retail Consumption Up 15%

6 Jan, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

On-demand spearheads market with 317 billion streams; Adele’s ‘25’ the top-selling album of the year

Music album sales plus track-equivalent albums and streaming-equivalent albums increased more than 15% in 2015 — led by a surge in streaming and Adele’s newest album, 25, according to new data from Nielsen.

More than 317 billion songs were streamed on-demand via audio and video platforms, an increase of 92.8% from 2014. Although album sales were down 6%, the decline was notably less than the 11% decline in 2014. Vinyl album sales continued to grow, with sales up 30%, accounting for nearly 9% of total physical album sales.

Adele’s record-setting 25 was the year’s biggest seller, with more than 7.4 million unit sales (in only six weeks), making it the biggest seller in a single year since 2004.

“With a record setting 3.38 million copies sold in the first week, and more than 7.4 million in its first six weeks, the unprecedented sales of Adele’s 25 is the sales story of the year, if not the decade,” David Bakula, SVP of Industry Insights at Nielsen, said in a statement. “While music fans continued to drive dramatic growth in on-demand streaming music, it’s clear that the album format is still viable for music fans.”

Nielsen’s airplay, sales and streaming data powers the Billboard charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200, which are widely cited as the standard for music industry measurement.

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