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post Jul 11 2016, 04:46 PM
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Full stream ahead: Music Week's analysis of the Q2 figures
By Murray Stassen
July 11th 2016

Streaming confirmed its position as the market’s dominant format in the second quarter of 2016, growing an extraordinary 79.5% year-on-year, from over 6 billion streams in Q2 2015 to over 11bn in Q2 2016.

The format accounted for 39.1% of the whole market in Q2 16 and was a driving factor in the 5% year-on-year growth of overall music consumption, based on the Album Equivalent Sales metric, according to BPI analysis of Official Charts Company data.

“While it’s been a relatively quiet quarter – with sales driven mainly by titles already in the market rather than major new releases – we continue to see encouraging signs of growth,” said Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI & BRIT Awards.

“Q2 also brought us the first album to go to No.1 in the Official Charts with audio streams making up the majority of its chart-eligible total – Drake’s Views – a trend we’re likely to see gather pace in the months ahead.”

When looking at the top tracks and albums that drove this growth, the best-selling single of the quarter was, unsurprisingly, Drake’s One Dance Ft Wizkid & Kyla, released via Cash Money/Republic Records (Island in the UK). The single has held on to the No.1 spot in the Official Singles Chart for 13 weeks so far, claiming the title of the longest-reigning No.1 single in the digital age (since 2004 and the introduction of legal download services).

Selling 1,141,801 units, the track ended the quarter more than 400,000 sales ahead of the second biggest-seller, Sia’s Cheap Thrills (Monkey Puzzle/RCA) which sold 702,698 units. In third place was the Columbia-released This Is What You Came For by Calvin Harris Ft Rihanna, selling a grand total of 664,762 in the quarter.

It was Sony Music that had the biggest major label presence in the Top 10 singles of the quarter, with a total of five, including Cheap Thrills at No.2 and This Is What You Came For at No.3. Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling (RCA) came in at No.5 on 544,769 sales, Work From Home by Fifth Harmony Ft Ty Dolla Sign (Syco Music) ended the quarter at No.6 on sales of 509,893, while Zara Larsson’s Lush Life (Black Butter/Epic/Ten) was at No.9 on 436,531.

Universal Music labels claimed three singles in the Top 10 – Drake’s One Dance, Mike Posner’s I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Island) at No.4 on 614,487 sales and DNCE’s Cake By The Ocean (Republic Records) at No.7 on sales of 451,091.

Warner Music Group claimed one more track in the Top 10 compared to last quarter, with Galantis’ Atlantic-released No Money at No.8 on 442,145 sales, as well as Tinie Tempah Ft Zara Larsson’s Girls Like (Parlophone) rounding off the Top 10 on sales of 429,179.

Beyoncés’ Lemonade (Columbia/Parkwood Ent) was the best selling artist album across the period, selling 252,013 copies in the three months to the end of June. Following in second place was Drake’s Views, which sold 211,857.

The third-best selling album in Q2 was Radiohead’s ninth studio effort A Moon Shaped Pool, released by XL Recordings in May. The record sold 126,764 from its release date to the end of the quarter, delivering one of two of the Top 20 best-selling albums for XL. The other one was of course 25 by Adele, which, in spite of being released in Q4 2015, still sold 117,425 to make it the sixth best selling artist album in Q2.

It’s worth noting that more than half of the Top 10 best-selling artist albums in the quarter were not released in 2016. Adele’s 25, Justin Bieber’s Purpose (No.7), Jess Glynne’s I Cry When I Laugh (No.8), This Is Acting by Sia (No.9) and Little Mix’s Get Weird (No.10) were all released in Q4 2015 and The Very Best Of Prince (No.4) was released in 2001.

Independent labels managed to increase their number of artist albums in the Top 20, from one in the first quarter of the year to five albums in Q2.

Other Top 20 indie artist albums were Skepta’s Konnichiwa (No.11), released by Boy Better Know and selling 66,101 copies and Everything You’ve Come To Expect by The Last Shadow Puppets (No.14), which, released by Domino Records in May, sold 64,880. The fifth best-selling indie artist album in the Top 20 was Rick Astley’s eighth album 50 (No.16), which was released via BMG in June and selling 58,607 copies to give Astley his first No.1 album in 29 years.

Warner Music had the biggest major label presence in the Top 20 artist albums sold in the quarter with six in total. Its biggest seller, and the No.4 top-selling album in Q2 was The Very Best Of Prince (120,477), followed by Coldplay’s A Head Full Of Dreams at No.5 on 117,863. The other WMG releases were Jess Glynne’s I Cry When I laugh (No.8), Lukas Graham’s self-titled album (No. 12) and Ed Sheeran’s X (No.19).

“One of the important things for the quarter was Glastonbury this year,” said Derek Allen, SVP, commercial division at WMUK. “We had an amazing presence across the whole festival. Muse and Coldplay both had huge uplifts. It’s not just good for us, it’s good for the whole market. It’s good to see something working and driving the whole industry.”

The top-selling compilation album in Q2 16 was Now That’s What I Call Music 93, released by Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI (Sony Music/Universal). The compilation sold 353,603 copies. The No.2
best-selling compilation was Universal Music (AATW/UMTV ) release 100% Clubland, which sold 128,921 copies. Following in third place, and 10,000 sales behind on 118,006 was another Universal (UMTV) release, Sing Your Heart Out 2016.

Market Shares

Looking at shares across the entire market, and taking the Album Equivalent Sales (AES) including compilations metric into account, all but one of the majors saw their shares increase year-on-year, with Warner Music Group and Sony Music seeing the biggest gains. WMG increased its Q2 15 share of 17.10% to end the quarter on 17.6%, while Sony saw its share increase from 21.77% in Q2 15 to 22.1% in Q2 16. Universal Music Group, although retaining its lead on the market, saw its share slip from 36.08% in Q2 15 to end on 35.1%.

“We are pleased with the 35.1%. It’s been a good quarter and we are pleased that the markets are in a healthy place and continuing to grow,” said Brian Rose, MD commercial division, Universal Music UK, speaking to Music Week. “We are getting into, let’s hope, a pattern of growth. So that is encouraging for the second half of the year.”

When looking at the market based on AES with compilations stripped out, it was still UMG that led the market, with a 34.5% share, with Sony following in second place on 21.1%. WMG, which is much less active in the compilations market, ended the quarter with a share of 19.5% based on the artist albums AES metric. “We are performing well,” said Derek Allen, SVP commercial WMUK.

“Album charts are doing particularly well - we have had three or four albums in the Top 10 for most of the quarter. Jess Glynne and Coldplay, both good, British home-grown talent, have been regulars in the Top 10 for the last three months.

Similarly in the single tracks market we’ve had hits from Lukas Graham, Galantis and Tinie Tempah so it has been a really strong quarter.”

In terms of the track streams market, it was UMG that led the pack with a 37.8% share of the market, while WMG took third place with 17.9%. Sony Music, which declined to comment on its shares, ended the quarter at No.2 with a 22.4% share.

Looking at the performance of the indies over the quarter, based on the AES metric including compilations, it was Ministry Of Sound that came out on top with a 2.5% share of the market, coming in at No.4 overall. MOS was followed closely by XL Beggars however, which saw a massive jump year-on-year to end the quarter with a 2.3% share of the market, compared to its Q2 15 share of 1.32%.

Indeed, with compilations stripped out, XL Beggars had a significantly larger share of the market, closing Q2 with a 2.7% share when looking at artist albums AES. Based on that metric, BMG had a 1.5% share of the market.

When looking at the total market shares by company and using the AES metric, Virgin EMI, RCA and Island retained the top three spots, ending with a 10.3%, 8.7% and 8% share of the market respectively.
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