2016 Year In Review: Streaming Becomes Music’s Biggest Moneymaker

Published: Tuesday 6th Dec 2016 by Rashad

Scribbled in history books for some good and not-so-good reasons, 2016 brought with it some of modern music’s most memorable moments.

Now, as the year draws to a close, TGJ is reflecting on 31 moments that rocked – and to some degree shaped – the Urban and Pop musical landscape as we know it.

Next, we reflect on how 2016 saw streaming forever change the face of music consumption:


In March 2016 the RIAA revealed that data from the previous year confirmed streaming was officially the largest source of revenue for the US music industry – overtaking digital downloads and physical sales.

Peruse the chart below…


Per the report, all parts of the streaming music market grew last year [2015] and total streaming revenues exceeded $2 billion for the first time ever. Combining all categories of streaming music (subscription, ad-supported on-demand, and SoundExchange distributions), revenues grew 29% to $2.4 billion in 2015.

The news above followed reports of Billboard allowing streaming numbers to be included in chart placements as well as the RIAA’s decision to include streaming in its certifications (more on that later). In November 2016, Billboard also made the decision to include Soundcloud data in its chart placement data as well.

Thanks to the juggernaut streaming has become 2017 is sure to see more “exclusive” releases akin to Drake‘s ‘Views’ (Apple Music) and Beyonce‘s ‘Lemonade’ (Tidal).

Your thoughts?

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  1. Taylor swifts number 1 fan!!! December 6, 2016

    Taylor swift is one of the last few greats, who can sell huge numbers without streaming.

    • Fancy BISH December 6, 2016

      And she’s currently doing a “rethink”, because she understands the game! Don’t think her team aren’t studying Drake and Rihanna!

      • TAYLOR SWIFTS NUMBER 1 FAN!!! December 6, 2016

        But her last album sold more than their albums combined. She sells physical copies, she has no need to use streaming to get her sales figures up.

      • Fancy BISH December 6, 2016

        She’s staying on top of her game like the savvy businesswoman she is…that Taylor and Drake collaboration will do more than just sell physicals…

    • Casual December 6, 2016

      This has been true, but her next album will not open at even half of what her last album did. This is industry-wide. It will hit Adele when she releases her next album years from now. Stars with more mature fan bases are better able to shift CDs and downloads, but as streaming becomes more pervasive, those stars will see their sales fade.

      • TAYLOR SWIFTS NUMBER 1 FAN!!! December 6, 2016

        They said thatb1989 wouldn’t do half the numbers, when she ditched the country audience and in fact sold more opened with more than all her previous albums, even in the states.

        Don’t under estaimate the power of Swift.

    • BOOBIE December 6, 2016

      Stop talking about that washboard booty ho here. She has no place on this website.

  2. Hydroquinone December 6, 2016

    congratulations to Beyonce Most nominated woman in Grammy history , Grammy’s are the highest music honours in the world so congratulations Queen….

    • gina December 6, 2016

      *most PURCHASED nominations in history…

      • Amerikkka’s Most Wanted ~ Tyler December 6, 2016

        Reciepts? You’re just mad because they paid ya girl dust, per usual kii

      • Kris December 6, 2016

        If they were purchasable, I’m sure Beyoncé would’ve been bad AOTY

  3. Fancy BISH December 6, 2016

    No need to throw weak shade at top streaming artists…cause it’s a bigger deal than you think…that’s why Tidal and Apple are trying to gain market share, top physical selling artists like Adele and Taylor are doing a “rethink”, and artists with zero streaming power will be strugglelicious in the near future! R&B music and hip-hop does very well on streaming THANK GOD.

  4. Molly #Stargirl December 6, 2016

    Streams are the future☺

  5. King B December 6, 2016

    Wow! I’m great my fave can sell singles, albums, tickets and slay streaming websites with catalogue albums.

    • SMH December 6, 2016

      Lol but Britney doesn’t sell albums like she used to tho…

  6. Blue Ivy Rod December 6, 2016

    I guess we are not shading streams anymore? LOL. These stans are stupid

  7. Blue Ivy Rod December 6, 2016

    In the next 5-10 years, every artist is going to become independent. With streams the future while we move away from physical, pretty soon the use for label will pretty much cave in on itself since artists can promote and distribute their own music on these platforms

    • Casual December 6, 2016

      For a while now, I have speculated this as well.

  8. Blue Ivy Rod December 6, 2016

    Meaning that music will be all about who is making good music and not going off name alone.

  9. Beysus my lord and savior December 6, 2016

    I’m so glad my God doesn’t need Apple or Spotify to move units

  10. Mark111 December 6, 2016

    But y’all said Anti was a flop because if it’s streams.

    • King B December 6, 2016

      Y’all say the same thing about Drunk In Love and 7/11 that outpeaked 3 of your fave lead singles last year. How fake.

      • blue jeans December 6, 2016

        FourFiveSeconds ended up outselling Drunk in Love worldwide (in the US they are equal) and BBHMM outsold 7/11 in the US (one is over 1 million, the other one is still below that number). American Oxygen was an embarrassing flop, that’s true and can’t defend that mess.

  11. Amerikkka’s Most Wanted ~ Tyler December 6, 2016

    Grammy predictions post please! I wanna see what yall think. Will there be any sweeps this year ?

    • Amerikkka’s Most Wanted ~ Tyler December 6, 2016


  12. Theman December 6, 2016

    Physical sales will stay. Everyone won’t be huge a streaming. Streaming only really helps huge artists anyway. The only reason that streaming looks the way it does is because they add singles/albums together.. Streaming still sucks. But whatever.

    • Mark111 /.\ December 6, 2016

      If an artist can’t get me to do a simple click on their song or album, then they were never going to get a sale from me in a million years. No one should be flopping in this streaming age. Some artist are just not liked, the end.

      • Surprise..(DEC 2013) December 6, 2016

        @Mark are not shocked that adele only got 5 nominations?? I AM STILL SHOCKED BY IT.

      • Amerikkka’s Most Wanted ~ Tyler December 6, 2016

        Why do you think that purpose received a nom over anti? Lol

      • Surprise..(DEC 2013) December 6, 2016

        I don’t think it should have..ANTI is better than purpose..EVEN MIND OF MINE by Zayn is better than purpose. I THINK THE COMMERCIAL SUCCESS WAS WHAT EARNED IT A NOM NO THE QUALITY OF THE ALBUM ITSELF.

    • blue jeans December 6, 2016

      Girl, don’t celebrate too early, we know Adele has more chance than your fave!

      • Amerikkka’s Most Wanted ~ Tyler December 6, 2016

        At least our fave actually got nominated hahaha

  13. Theman December 7, 2016

    If you’re not popular, then streaming doesn’t really help you. If you aren’t getting promoted & don’t have AirPlay, then lots of people won’t hear your music. Streaming is not real sales though….

  14. JuJu December 7, 2016

    Fossils outchea denying streaming. Like their ancestors denied CD’s and their parents are denYing evolution and Stem cell research… saying the world is 6000 years old. Idiocracy is real.

  15. We Nowqd Redv dimnobut it ash trjoan ivy blobukz Need UK timely Ukuno eremxil December 7, 2016


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