The Percentage of Music on Streaming Services That Was Never Played in 2023 Is Staggering
One of the great things about streaming is that it provides you a seemingly endless amount of content that you can listen to all within a specific platform, but how much of that content do you take advantage of? According to the 2023 Luminate year-end report, there is an absolutely staggering amount of music that never even got touched (or clicked on) over the course of the 2023 calendar year.
Luminate is a company with over a 30-year history of measuring music consumption and providing insight research. They're also the provider of data for Billboard. And recently, Luminate's VP Head of Global Helena Kosinski offered a visual year-end report breaking down some of the key figures and trends of the past year. Among them, was a look at the overall availability of "ISRCs" (which stands for International Standard Recording Codes) and how many of them are consumed.
It was during this breakdown that you could see the very rare top of the pyramid, where Kosinski revealed that only 10 songs from 2023 had over a billion streams globally to date. But with such a tiny peak, the pyramid has a massive bottom.
"We had 79.5 million ISRCs that had between zero and 10 streams last year and in fact, 45.6 million ISRCs in our system did not register a single stream in 2023," explained Kosinski. "So there is, as we all know, there is a lot of music out there and a lot of it is not getting streamed a huge amount."
The stats get a little more staggering as the bottom of the streaming pyramid is examined. after the initial 79.5 million that fell between zero and 10 streams, you had another 42.7 million ISRCs that fell in the 11 to 100 streamed range, and an additional 30 million that received between 101 to 1,000 streams over the past year.
To put it in the bigger picture, that's 86.2 percent of nearly 158.6 million songs that fell below 1,000 plays on streaming services. And the 45.6 million number that received zero plays over the last year amounts to 24.8 percent of the total streaming catalog.
So while it may seem that streaming services provide you with endless possibilities to hear new music, consumer behavior shows that most of what consumers are listening to, they're more likely to return to than to seek out something new or unheard.
Within the presentation, Kosinski breaks down some of the user behavior as well, noting that "superfans" primarily are locked in on three things - social signaling, expression of identity and the community they find with a certain artist. In other words, a sense of belonging still prevails.
So where does that leave us? While streaming appears to be where many fans find music these days, it's apparent that there still remains some favoritism amongst consumers toward what you already know. And while streaming may be big for some acts, it's not a guarantee for every band or artist that your music will be found. There's still a good amount of legwork and promotion needed to get an artist off the ground in the streaming world.
Luminate's 2023 Year-End Music Report
A Brief History of Recorded Music Formats
Gallery Credit: Chris Wheatley