38 Million Songs That No One Listened To Last Year

Submitted by Peter Åstedt

Several people in my social media circle from the music industry reacted to a report that was released by Luminate and reported by Music Business World Wide. The numbers from Luminate, a company that monitors several streaming sites were that of the 158 million songs they were monitoring 24% had no streams whatsoever during the year 2022. 24% is close to 38 million songs that were never been heard during 2022.

That is like every person in Canada has released a song and no one heard it. At the same time just look at the number they monitor, a staggering 158 million songs. Are they any good?

This is my problem today with all art. We have all channels to reach out to people. There will be great art that will be discovered. At the same time, how much great art is just buried in the brown wave of art that really has no meaning at all?

So here are some interesting numbers. Only 15 songs out of 158 million songs were listened to more than 1 billion times. Easy, we had 15 global hits last year (or. 3000 songs had more than 100 million up to one billion streams. 43 000 songs had more than 10 million up to 100 million streams. Those are usually a solid hit in a country. 327 000 songs had between one million to 10 million streams. Songs that have some popularity among a niche audience. 1, 6 million songs had more than 100,000 up to a million streams. A good local band usually has that kind of number.

Here come the really scary facts. These songs that had those numbers are just 0.01% of all songs out there. And it gets worse. 42% of the songs in 158 million had less than 10 streams. And 24% had none.

Sure there is plenty of songs out there from old albums, albums from artists that existed twenty years ago and never did any success. But no streams? I know from my own label we have a lot of groups that only existed for a short period and just did one release and then disappeared. But I check and actually in our whole catalog, 97% had over ten streams last year. I guess that is because all of our releases were promoted, and there are still people listening to the songs as part of their old playlists.

What would be interesting is to see how many of the songs that were released 2022 and got no play. And how much of that was just an AI song that was released to make the computer learn what works or not?

What we see today (I have written about it before) is that the artist uses the demos as releases to get feedback to make the next song better. The song has a value time like a post in social media. A pretty new system and totally the opposite of the old one, where you had to compete to even get the chance to record the song, and after that work even harder to be part of the artist that was on the record store shelf. The interesting part is that both systems still make the same number of artists that are on the top self even if it’s digitally today.

Should you just go for recording demos and take a chance that one just sticks? Or should you go on developing songs to make them better and then release them at a slower pace? That is the big question, we still know that to make an iconic song you need quality. To just get a fast hit you need the speed to make it spread.

It’s all about marketing and the digital world hasn’t made it easier to market, just easier to market to the people that already know. I guess we have to get back to some old-school marketing tricks to just break and artists. I won’t disclose anything yet, but I’m just on a totally new journey in the music industry.

Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 35 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. In 2021, he worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes futureechoes.se/ which is about to launch the newest edition in Canada in 2024, Future Echoes Toronto. Peter is a Managing Partner and Editor of the legendary Record World International and also sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian-based charity, The Drive Foundation.