Streaming is growing faster than video. Like, way faster.

A new report from BuzzAngle Music, the industry’s leading source of consumption data, is turning a lot of heads around the industry. The takeaways are numerous, but one fact is clear: Streaming popularity is going to hit the stratosphere in 2017.

According to the report, which can be read in full for free on BuzzAngle’s site the rate people around the world consume audio streams grew a staggering 86% in 2016, totaling more than 250 billion streams. In fact, there were more song streams on any given day last year than there were song downloads for the entire year. Think about that.

Perhaps even more impressive is how this growth compares to the growth of video, which has long been heralded as the biggest source of media engagement online. BuzzAngle’s report, as you can see in the image above, shows just 7.5% growth in video consumption, with total views for the year topping out just over 181.3 billion.

Increased consumption is good for everyone, but it’s also worth noting that competition for consumer’s attention is also growing at an alarming rate. There were 28 million unique songs streamed over the last twelve months compared to just 7 million unique songs being sold.

More people are listening to more music than ever before, and even if they are not buying an individual song or album they are more than likely accessing the media through a premium subscription service that does pay royalties to the performer. The streaming industry saw overall subscriptions more than double in the last year. Those numbers are likely to double again, if not triple, in the year ahead.

This is all good news, but there is one thing that remains crucial to any individual artists finding success in the digital age. Ease of access is everything in today’s music climate. Why put your new single on one service when it can be on all of them? Why rely on Spotify and Apple Music when Soundcloud and Bandcamp have less barriers to entry? Make your music easy to find and cheap (or free) to access. Make it so easy to engage with you that people feel they must give you a chance.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.