Streaming is the present and future of music consumption. Consumers, artists and industry observers will all agree on that point. There has been a growing number of data as to how ubiquitous the practice has become in the past few years, but the Pandora-owned music data analytics company Next Big Sound has put it very simply. In the first six months of 2015, music was streamed over one trillion times across various services such as Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Rdio, Vevo, Vimeo and Pandora.
Services like Apple Music and TIDAL were not included in the current data tabulation, which will presumably make the number even higher at the end of the year when you factor in growth of streaming with their data - if Next Big Sound is given access to it.
One case study expounded upon is SoundCloud -- which has had its fair share of troubles over the past few years. The service has been trying to balance the desires of the majors and remain on the right side of the law, while not alienating a massive user base. In May 2015, the Berlin-based music platform had close to 5 billion plays across the platform, compared to 2.6 billion the year before and 700 million in June 2013. There is a clear growth in usage, now it just needs to resolve its copyright issues. These numbers can be used as leverage during its negotiations with the majors that appear to be making progress.
In addition to the staggering streaming numbers, Instagram followers are tallied. Besides Snapchat, Instagram is the "new" place where fans are going to get their news and see pictures of food and sunsets.
In June 2014, there were only 51 million new followers for artists and one year later in May 2015 there were 283 million new fans following artists. This can be partially attributed to new artists getting Instagram accounts, but for the most part it is new users getting on the social media platform and following their favorite acts.