(Editor’s note: we updated this report on Jan. 22, 2014 to clarify the CMA Awards viewership audience.) From toe-tapping hits to head-bobbing beats, music speaks to people’s souls. Today’s consumer has more access to music ever, and they’re gobbling it up any way they can through as many formats as they can. But ever-evolving technologies are changing music consumption—and in 2013, those entertainers who reimagined music within these new spaces reaped some of the biggest benefits.
Beyoncé bookended the year—first with her performance during the half-time show at the Super Bowl (joined by her former Destiny’s Child bandmates) and closing the year with her “surprise” album release. With audio and video interconnected, this has already become one of the 10 bestselling digital albums of all time with over a million digital albums sold in just three weeks.
In between, music fans were treated to a year of creative release events by artists, including Apps from Jay-Z and Lady Gaga, as well as a two part album released six months apart from Justin Timberlake. In addition to the great awards shows and celebrations, such as the Billboard Music Awards and the Grammy Awards, we were also watched the first YouTube Music Awards, celebrating the consumer’s favorite video streams of the year—this amid continued growth in all forms of music streaming.
While overall music sales (including albums, singles, music videos, digital tracks) were down 6.3 percent year over year, streaming consumption grew a whopping 32 percent since 2012. With Nielsen consumer research showing that 68 percent of U.S. consumers reported streaming music in the past year, music consumption should continue to surging forward into 2014.