Albums by Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, BTS and Bad Bunny led to a record 507 billion on-demand streams in the first six months of 2019, according to Nielsen’s mid-year report, which “outlines the music industry’s leading trends, data and insights over the past six months.”
Breaking down the leading trends via the Gracenote Music Database, the report states that 2018’s most popular music trend — Mumble Rap — continued to gain ground during the first half of the year. “Mumble Rap was still the preferred musical style at a high margin over the second favorite, Contemporary Rhythmic Pop,” the report reads, “thanks in part to popular songs from Post Malone, Lil Nas X, DaBaby and more.” Other leading “mood styles” include Contemporary Pop Power Ballad, Trap, Pop Reggaeton and Urban Contemporary.
However, Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande are among the leading artists who don’t really fit any of those categories. Eilish placed a whopping nine tracks among the 200 most-consumed songs of 2019, while Grande’s “7 Rings” was the year’s third most-consumed song with over 776 million on-demand streams.
Elsewhere in its analysis, the report notes that the year’s biggest music moments have been aided by exposure in popular films, pointing to the success of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” (684,000 song downloads, 316 million on-demand song streams and 1 billion audience impressions on the radio); Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower” from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (47.6 million U.S. streams in the week after the film’s release); the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” — the title song has 170,000 song downloads and over 170 million on-demand streams, and the group has sold more albums and digital songs than any other artist this year, with over 731,000 album sales and 1.3 million downloads, respectively; and the Elton John’s biopic “Rocketman,” which gave his catalog a 138% gain in album sales, a 142% increase in digital song downloads and a 48% increase in audio streams in the week after the film’s release.
The report also points to global genres, such as K-Pop and Latin, making major inroads in the U.S. BTS’ “Map of the Soul: Persona” earned some 230,000 equivalent album units in its first week on the charts in April, while their single with Halsey, “Boy With Luv” has reached 125 million on-demand streams so far this year. Blackpink’s “Kill This Love” hit 18.6 million first week on-demand streams. It also points to crossover successes by Latin artists including Daddy Yankee’s song “Con Calma” (216 million on-demand streams year-to-date, including the bilingual remix featuring Katy Perry), over 26 million on-demand streams for Natti Natasha’s “Me Gusta,” and 14 million on-demand streams year-to-date for Madonna’s “Medellin” featuring Maluma.
The report also pointed to Marshmello’s success with the first-ever in-game concert on the popular live-streamed game Fortnite, which brought a 316% sales increase for his album “Joytime II” and massive media exposure; the boost the annual Record Store Day brings to independently owned record stores (an all-time high with 827,000 vinyl albums sold during the week ending April 18, up 12.8% from 2018 — and noted that vinyl sales are up nearly 10% over the first six months of 2018); and, sadly, noted the 2,776% rise in consumption of rapper Nipsey Hussle’s catalog in the wake of his death on March 31.