Playlists Overtake Albums in Listenership, Says LOOP Study

September 22, 2016 – Playlists have now surpassed albums as a format for music listening, according to a new study conducted by LOOP (Lots of Online People) and provided to the Music Business Association (Music Biz) for its members. The insight comes from “Music Consumption: The Overall Landscape,” the third in-depth report to be issued via Music Biz Consumer Insights, the interactive, member-exclusive research portal hosted on

Based on a May 2016 survey of 3,014 U.S. respondents, the report shows that playlists accounted for 31% of total listening time across all demographics, while albums accounted for only 22%. Single track listening remained the dominant format with 46% of total listening time, but that number is down 6% from 2015, in which it accounted for 52% overall.

In addition, YouTube has emerged as the most regularly used source for audio content, with 42% of respondents stating that they used the service to listen to audio for five minutes or more at least once a week. Pandora was next on the list with 31% saying the same, with CDs lagging behind at 22%.

The report also dug into freemium streaming, finding that 42% of respondents were not paying for music streaming subscriptions because they were happy using ad-supported freemium tiers.

“As the music business continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial that we understand the progression of music consumption trends so we can deliver the best experience possible,” said James Donio, President of Music Biz. “The data in this report will be invaluable to our members as they decide where, when and how to release and promote new music.”

“This report confirms that playlists are becoming more and more dominant in the music industry as streaming services gain traction,” said David Lewis, Co-Founder of LOOP. “We hope music companies will keep this data in mind as they make decisions on which platforms, distribution methods and marketing opportunities to invest in.”

LOOP representatives discussed the report’s top-line findings during Music Biz’s “Music Consumption: Streaming, Hi-Res Audio, and Playlisting Data Revealed” webinar today, and the full “Music Consumption: The Overall Landscape” report is now available for purchase via the members-only Music Biz Consumer Insights portal at Non-members who would like to purchase the report may contact Nicole Hennessey, Music Biz’s VP of Communications, at

About the Music Business Association

The Music Business Association (Music Biz) is a membership organization that advances and promotes music commerce — a community committed to the full spectrum of monetization models in the industry. It provides common ground by offering thought leadership, resources and unparalleled networking opportunities, all geared to the specific needs of its membership. Music Biz brings a unique perspective and valuable insight into the trends and changes that innovation brings. Today, we put our collective experience to work across all delivery models: physical, digital, mobile, and more. Music Biz and its members are committed to building the future of music commerce — together.

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