Industries in Depth

Infographic: How does the world consume music?

Woman listening to music through headphones

The internet has revolutionized how music is consumed. Image: Unsplash / Tirachard Kumtanom

Athul Alexander
Digital Designer, Visual Capitalist
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  • Paid subscription services were the most preferred option for listeners in 2022, accounting for 24% of the main platform share.
  • Short-form video platforms like TikTok are a fast-growing medium for music consumption, with 8% of primary music listeners.
  • But 17% still say radio is their primary avenue when listening to music.

A Visual Breakdown of Global Music Consumption

To maximize any chance of success in the music business, aspiring artists must gain an understanding of how music is consumed and how that is changing alongside technology.

This graphic from Athul Alexander highlights global music consumption habits. Data is from 2022 and is sourced from a survey of over 44,000 people from 22 countries by IFPI that asked people their primary mode for consuming music.

As of 2022, paid subscription services (i.e. Apple Music, Spotify) are the most preferred option for listeners, accounting for nearly one-fourth of main platform share.

Infographic showing the global music consumption
More than 64% of individuals primarily choose to play music over the internet Image: Visual Capitalist / IFPI

Short-form video platforms like TikTok, with an 8% share of primary music listeners, are a fast-growing medium. Several young artists have found initial success and traction using these platforms over the past few years.

And though video “killed the radio star,” it hasn’t killed listening to music on the radio. A healthy, 17% of respondents picked radio as their primary avenue for listening to music.

Statistic showing the share of each music service
Paid audio streaming has the highest share in the music avenue Image: Visual Capitalist

Streaming Supremacy and Virality

There’s no doubt that the internet has revolutionized how music is being consumed.

Including all video and music streaming, internet-based music consumption was the primary choice for 64% of respondents. That’s not even accounting for livestreams or music purchased through the internet.

Statistic showing the platforms of music consumption
64% of respondents consume music on internet-based platforms Image: Visual Capitalist

This internet-heavy metric is being reflected on the business side as well, with 75% of the music industry’s revenues in the U.S. coming from streaming.

However, for artists, streaming revenue is usually the third-biggest earner after live performances and sales.

But utilizing streaming to its fullest potential keeps modern artists in the loop. For example, Beyoncé was one of the first artists to utilize streaming platforms to release an album completely unannounced in 2013, a marketing move that has been replicated many times since.

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