30% of All U.S. Music Streams in 2018 Were R&B/Hip-Hop, With Drake the Most-Streamed Artist of Year

11/01/2019 byKeith Caulfield

Drake was the king of streaming in 2018, as he finished the year as the most-streamed artist in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.

The superstar collected 11.13 billion on-demand streams for his catalog of songs (in both audio and video streams) -- a yearly record for an artist, surpassing his own record of 6.4 billion in 2017.

Drake is also the first act to earn 10 billion streams for his songs in a calendar year.

Drake’s streaming haul represented 1.2 percent of total streams across all artists in all genres. In total, 901 billion on-demand streams were registered in 2018 -- up 42.6 percent over 2017.

Drake’s streams were fueled greatly by the success of his album Scorpion, which generated 4.57 billion on-demand audio streams -- the most-streamed album of 2018. (Meanwhile, the set’s songs collected another 1.76 billion in on-demand video streams.)

R&B/HIP-HOP DOMINATES STREAMING: The combined genre of R&B/hip-hop continues to be the heaviest hitter on streaming services, with the genre accounting for 30 percent of all on-demand streams in 2018 (267.4 billion clicks of the 901 billion total).

The second-largest genre in 2018 streaming was rock music, with a 14.2 percent share of the market (127.5 billion streams).

Overall on-demand audio streams vaulted 49 percent to 611 billion, while on-demand video streams surged 30 percent to 290 billion.

RAP RULES AMONG MOST-STREAMED ARTISTS: Following Drake on the list of the most-streamed acts of 2018 are eight more hip-hop acts: Post Malone (7.51 billion), XXXTentacion (6.91 billion), Eminem (4.82 billion), YoungBoy Never Broke Again (4.46 billion), Migos (4.17 billion), Travis Scott (4.01 billion), Cardi B (3.99 billion) and Lil Baby (3.32 billion). Rounding out the top 10 most-streamed acts of 2018 is pop superstar Ariana Grande, with 3.28 billion clicks.

“GOD’S PLAN” IS YEAR’S MOST-STREAMED SONG: Drake’s smash single “God’s Plan” finishes 2018 as the most-streamed song of the year, as it accumulated 1.566 billion on-demand audio and video streams -- a calendar-year record for a song. It was one of four titles to surpass 1 billion streams in 2018, up from just a single billion-streamer in 2017 (Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” featuring Justin Bieber, with 1.32 billion).

The top 10 most-streamed songs of 2018 were unsurprisingly dominated by hip-hop titles, with Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” being the only non-hip-hop effort in the region (at No. 9, with 797.27 million streams).

Nielsen Music’s 2018 tracking year ran from Dec. 29, 2017, through Jan. 3, 2019. Due to a quirk in the calendar, there were 53 weeks in 2018 instead of the usual 52. So for 2018 volume comparisons to 2017, a corresponding 53-week period is used by Nielsen Music for 2017: Dec. 30, 2016 through Jan. 4, 2018. Numbers in this story are rounded.

TOP 10 MOST STREAMED SONGS OF 2018 IN U.S., ON-DEMAND AUDIO & VIDEO COMBINED
Rank Artist, Title Streams
1 Drake, "God's Plan" 1,565,711,000
2 Juice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams" 1,107,289,000
3 Drake, "In My Feelings" 1,100,534,000
4 XXXTentacion, "Sad!" 1,026,294,000
5 Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign, "Psycho" 924,496,000
6 Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, "Rockstar" 905,440,000
7 Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It" 873,494,000
8 Drake, "Nice for What" 844,403,000
9 Ed Sheeran, "Perfect" 797,274,000
10 BlocBoy JB featuring Drake, "Look Alive" 766,073,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019.

 

TOP 10 ON-DEMAND STREAMS OF 2018 IN U.S., AUDIO-ONLY
Rank Artist, Title Streams
1 Drake, "God's Plan" 917,872,000
2 Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign, "Psycho" 594,516,000
3 Drake, "Nice for What" 576,214,000
4 Juice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams" 572,972,000
5 XXXTentacion, "Sad!" 565,324,000
6 Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, "Rockstar" 525,971,000
7 Drake, "In My Feelings" 522,591,000
8 BlocBoy JB featuring Drake, "Look Alive" 522,155,000
9 Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It" 508,202,000
10 Travis Scott, "Sicko Mode" 479,509,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019.

 

TOP 10 ON-DEMAND STREAMS OF 2018 IN U.S., VIDEO-ONLY  
Rank Artist, Title Streams
1 Drake, "God's Plan" 647,839,000
2 Drake, "In My Feelings" 577,943,000
3 Juice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams" 534,317,000
4 XXXTentacion, "Sad!" 460,970,000
5 Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber, "Despacito" 422,743,000
6 Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B, "Girls Like You" 415,292,000
7 Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug, "Havana" 399,510,000
8 Ella Mai, "Boo'd Up" 398,445,000
9 Post Malone featuring 21 Savage, "Rockstar" 379,468,000
10 Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It" 365,292,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019.
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