The State Of Online Music In 2012

Independent artists are more popular than any major label, and listening is up by almost half, according to this annual report. See the latest social music stats here.

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Next Big Sound has released its annual report detailing the state of music on social networks through 2012.

Next Big Sound is a platform for reading statistics on bands to track their popularity - useful for labels, talent scouts or just for tracking your own band.

"The growth of social networks, streaming services, online radio and digital downloads is unstoppable, opening up ever more avenues for fans to listen to, discover, and share new music," writes Next Big Sound in its intro.

Music listening is up by almost half, at 45%, on networks including Soundcloud, YouTube,, Vimeo and other music platforms:

Soundcloud saw a massive surge in popularity after its redesign towards the end of 2012, as revealed last week:

Universal are the most popular major label on social networks, followed by Sony - but independent artists are more popular than any major:

You can read the full Next Big Sound 2012 report here.

What have you learnt from these new figures? Share your insights with other readers in the comments.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Darth Wader
    "Universal are the most popular major label on social networks, followed by EMI" Uh, isn't EMI the worst or can I not read a graph??
    No, you're right - it's the 'writers' at UG that can't read a graph.
    Because this has nothing to do with the pirating of music online, throughout the 2000's, essentially killing off hard copies of music (see HMV goes bust). If it's the only option available, clearly it's going to thrive. It's called monopolistic competition.
    Do Re Mi
    There is so much free music on the internet even without pirating. It's really quite beautiful, I'll spend hours just hopping around on bandcamp and find so much good stuff, some free and some not. So don't just blame pirating. It thrives because there is greater variety that is easier to access. Here are bandcamps stats they have on their homepage: "To date, artists have made $30,360,619 using Bandcamp, and $1,876,790 in the past 30 days alone. Albums outsell tracks 5 to 1 (in the rest of the music buying world, tracks outsell albums 16 to 1). On name-your-price albums, fans pay an average of 50% more than the minimum. We've driven 4,495,238 paid transactions and served 46,486,370 downloads to happy fans." Internet killed the CD store, and I really don't mind.
    Why just mention pirating when the past decade has been spent with different companies coming up with different methods of selling music online too? Vinyl has been making a comeback because it actually has sonic benefits. CD's are pretty outdated compared to digital files unless you have the emotional connection to physical copies.
    Does anyone still think we need major labels? Other than producing cell phone, soda and car commercials with Nicki Minaj's latest garbage single being simultaneously shoved down the throats of idiots with loose wallets major labels are absolutely useless.
    Smaller labels aren't all that strong yet to organize major world tours for huge bands. In those cases big labels will linger. For smaller bands though smaller labels are becoming the better deal and even more recently I've seen self-releasing becoming popular too.
    For the number of plays, there is no number comparison to show the actual percentage growth. Ug you are really bad at reporting statistics and such