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Most streaming music tracks do not reach monetisation threshold

Most streaming music tracks do not reach monetisation threshold
Swift released concert film in 2023 (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A quarter of music on streaming services did not get played at all in 2023, according to a new report.

Luminate’s 2023 Year-End Music Report found that 45.6m tracks were not streamed once throughout last year (24.8% of total) and 158.6m (86.2%) were listened to fewer than a thousand times.

The report revealed that there were 184m audio tracks in total on audio streaming services and globally only 10 tracks from 2023 were streamed more than a billion times to date.

Analysis: What this means for advertising

Patrick Dolan, activation director at the7stars, thought the report highlighted “interesting trends” that may seem “alarming”, but there were positives. 

He explained: “On first glance, the figures show that the same 14% of music is being listened to over and over again. However, on closer investigation, within this 14% is a huge variety of artists and bands.

“Plus, the categories driving this growth have not come from the mainstream music genres and regions you would expect. Categories such as Mexican music are taking the US by storm, with 21.9bn streams, up 60% year on year. J-pop and Afrobeats have been dominating growth too.”

This is important to advertisers looking to audio. Dolan continued: “We should be encouraging clients to take a strong and clear approach to their audio strategy, ensuring we are considering a broad spectrum of genres and categories outside of the standard and looking at sponsorship and segments not previously tapped.”

Global music streaming volumes continued to reach new highs in 2023, he added, with 7.1tn on-demand song streams for audio and video — a 33.7% increase year on year.

Moreover, 2023 saw a huge increase in live concert attendance as well as the launch of concert films including for BTS, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, with the latter experiencing a 42% increase in on-demand music streams following the cinematic release of the Eras film.

Dolan said: “This new source of income and exposure for artists is going to be a continuing trend in 2024. For advertising, this opens up a whole new audience energised by the cinema, with a younger demographic going back to the larger screen.

“For audio, it opens up opportunities to be more contextual with our placements, combining a cinema and audio approach which will pull together a true audiovisual approach.”

Spotify’s change of rules

In November 2023, Spotify announced that it would only offer royalties for songs with more than a thousand streams in the last 12 months. Luminate’s latest findings would suggest the vast majority of tracks would not trigger a payment.

Spotify said at the time the new policies would deter artificial streaming, better distribute small payments that were not reaching artists and “rein in” those attempting to game the system with noise.

It stressed that the company would “not make additional money under this model” and that its payouts to the music industry “continue to grow” to more than $40bn.

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Andrew Baker, Project Manager , Software Inc, on 22 Jan 2024
“It’s called the Pareto principle -or 80/20 rule. In this case 20% of tracks generate 80% of income. You’ll see it applies everywhere: 80% of wealth is in 20% of the population’s hands. Useful too to think of it as “20% of effort Will give you 80% of your results””

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