Nielsen Unveils 2015 Total Music Consumption Report

Adele 25


In a nearly 30-page report, Nielsen has released its 2015 U.S. Music Report for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31.

The country genre held 8.5 percent of total consumption among other genres, with its largest consumption coming from physical albums (37 percent). Country ranked second for radio consumption, with 9.1 percent of U.S. radio listeners aged 18-34 tuned in during any 15-minute period during the day. Radio (AM/FM or Satellite) remained the No. 1 way respondents discovered new music.

On-demand streaming was up 93 percent, with 317 billion streams in 2015.

Adele’s 25 was the year’s biggest seller in a single year since 2004, collecting over 7.4 million units moved in a six-week period (8 million overall) to close the year. Her 2015 album was notably unavailable on streaming services, which was also the case for Taylor Swift, who came in overall at No. 2 with her 2014 release, 1989. Swift has moved over 7.5 million units of 1989 to date.

Meghan Trainor‘s Title came in overall at No. 7 with 1.7 million. Sam Hunt‘s Montevallo was No. 9 overall with approximately 1.4 million while Luke Bryan‘s Kill The Lights moved 851,000 in U.S. sales. Notably, after a CMA winning streak and performance with Justin Timberlake, sales of Chris Stapleton’s Traveller increased 6,000 percent, putting it then at the top of the Billboard 200 chart.

Meanwhile, vinyl sales increased 30 percent, continuing 10 consecutive years of growth with nearly 12 million units sold in 2015. Adele and Swift led the vinyl race, with 116,000 and 74,000 units moved, respectively.


Although album sales experienced a decline in 2015 (-6 percent), the decline was about half that for 2014 (-11 percent ). Album sales plus track equivalent albums (10 tracks is equivalent to 1 album) and streaming equivalent albums (where 1,500 streams is equivalent to 1 album) increased more than 15 percent over 2014.

To download the full report, visit



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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine,, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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