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It's official: older music outpacing new releases in popularity, data shows

kate bush
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New and contemporary music is falling in popularity while the classics continue to dominate the charts, a new study from Luminate shows. 

One of the most obvious examples is Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill

The data firm's mid-year report found that the overall consumption (streams, downloads and album sales) of music releases less than 18 months old was down by 1.4% when compared to this point last year. 

The study also shows that in the first half of 2022, only 102 new albums debuted on the Billboard 200 - that's 24 fewer albums than the same period in 2021. 

By contrast, the report found that the popularity of older music - specifically, music releases that are 18 months or older - saw a significant increase of 19% over this time last year. 

One of the most obvious examples of that trend is Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, which saw a 16,867% increase in streams after Netflix featured the track in an episode of Stranger Things, leading it to become the most-streamed song worldwide in the week following the episode's premiere. 

Luminate's report made several other intriguing observations. In yet another reappearance of the musical trends of yesteryear, it's noted that vinyl sales have continued to grow. 

Big-box retailers like Target and Walmart have doubled their share of the vinyl market, signalling mainstream acceptance that vinyl is back and its here to stay. 

Check out the full report here. (opens in new tab) 

Matt Mullen
Matt Mullen

I'm the Tech Features Editor for MusicRadar, working on everything from artist interviews to tech tutorials. I've been writing about (and making) electronic music for over a decade, and when I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard or a synthesizer.