Online audio and
video consumption surged in the first half of 2013, according to the latest figures from Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen BDS, which tallied 50.9 billion audio and video streams in the first six months
of the year, up 24% from 41 billion streams in the same period of 2012.
The most popular streamed song in the first half of the year was “Harlem Shake,” by Baauer, which
was streamed 438.5 million times, followed by “Thrift Shop,” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, with 186.8 million streams, and Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” with 150.6 million
The number of digital albums sold increased 6.3% from 57.2 million in the first half of 2012 to 60.8 million in the first half of 2013, while the number of CD albums sold
dropped 14.2% from 91.1 million to 78.2 million over the same period.
The number of individual tracks sold decreased 2.3% from 698 million to 682.2 million -- possibly indicating a greater
reliance on on-demand audio streaming in place of ownership.
Separately, Pandora, the leading online audio platform, announced that Pandora users logged 1.25 billion listening hours
in June of this year, up 17% from 1.08 billion in June 2012. Its active listening audience increased 30% from 54.5 million to 71.1 million over the same period.
The online audio space
is heating up with the release of Twitter Music in April, Google Play’s All Access music service in May, and Apple’s iTunes Radio set to debut this fall. Traditional radio broadcasters are
fighting back, with Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio claiming over 30 million registered users in May