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US Listeners Have Streamed More Music Than Ever Before In 2022

Not your band, though.

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As we continue down the path of Spotify Wrapped season, Music Business Worldwide has reported an interesting statistic surrounding all those numbers – listeners in the US have collectively streamed music over trillion times for the first time ever across all digital platforms. That number comes from a study done by Luminate, who note the one trillion streams mark was passed on November 26.

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For reference, US-based listeners streamed 988.1 billion songs in 2021 overall. And to add a little more context around that massive figure, US listeners streamed music 142.9 billion times in 2015. So clearly things are still moving upward.

This news comes after two other interesting pieces of information came to light earlier this year (pertaining to Spotify, anyway). The first is that there are over 100,000 tracks uploaded to Spotify every day. So obviously the choice for what to listen to is there. For reference, Spotify passed the 60,000 mark in February 2021, 40,000 mark in April 2019, and 20,000 mark sometime in early 2018. So things are accelerating at a pretty rapid pace.

But then there's the kind of bad news – nobody is listening to most bands on Spotify. In a recent earnings call, Universal Music Group Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy Michael Nash discussed the fact that most bands go largely ignored while a handful of bigger names get all the streams. How those one trillion streams break down into these listening categories isn't clear, but here's hoping people are checking out more artists… right?

"The [streaming] platforms right now are flooded by a tidal wave of content as millions of creators [are] getting access," said Nash. "But these are essentially content uploaders; they're not artists in the sense that we traditionally think of artists.

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"Nearly 80% of this multimillion creator uploading pool has a monthly audience of less than 50 listeners. And, in fact, 90% of these creators have fewer than 400 monthly listeners. That's 400 monthly listeners out of an audience of [over] 400 million [on Spotify]. So just to put a data point behind that: that means that 90% of these uploaders are engaging less than 1 millionth of the platform. These are hobbyists that are playing to an essentially empty house."

So streaming is certainly growing, but y'know – it doesn't seem to be trickling down into having smaller artists streamed more. On Spotify, anyway.

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