The popularity of music streaming services has overtaken video sites for the first time in the U.S., according to market monitor BuzzAngle.
Services like Apple Music and Spotify delivered 114 billion streams in the first six months of 2016, compared to 95 billion video streams on sites like YouTube and Vevo. Overall, the market for streaming services increased by 58% year-on-year.
The surge in popularity was largely driven by the availability of albums by Beyonce, Rihanna and Drake. Rihanna's 'Work' is the most-streamed song of 2016 in the U.S, for example, while Drake's Views is the most requested album, being streamed 1.5 billion times since its release in April.
Adele's album 25 was not available to stream for seven months after it was released, yet figures show that it was streamed 168 million times in the first six days following its streaming debut on June 24.
The rise in streaming enabled music consumption in the U.S. to grow by 6.5%, despite CD sales being down 11% and digital sales falling 17%. Vinyl sales meanwhile enjoyed continuing growth, going up 17% to 3.1 million.
Spotify remains the world's most popular streaming music service with 30 million subscribers, boasting roughly twice as many paying subscribers as Apple Music, but the Swedish rival has been available in Europe for nearly eight years and in the U.S. since 2011, while Apple Music only just celebrated its first year of service.
Despite rising users and revenues, Spotify continues to operate at a loss due to expensive royalties and revenue sharing with music label partners. The service's losses rose by 10 percent to $195.7 million (173 million euros) last year, prompting some investors to question the viability of its business model.
For Apple Music's part, assuming that it maintains its current pace of growth, it is reasonable to assume that it will eventually eclipse Spotify as the top streaming service worldwide, benefiting from its prominence as a default app on iOS and offering a lengthy three-month free trial to get users hooked on the service.