135B songs streamed by US listeners in first half of 2015

Taylor Swift with Apple
Taylor Swift dominates, despite little streaming

When it comes to streaming music, Apple's new service has been the talk of the town this week - but a new report claims US growth has nearly doubled even before Cupertino sauntered onto the scene.

Re/code reported late Thursday that American music listeners appear to finally be warming up to the concept of streaming music, with a total of 135.2 billion songs and music videos served up in the first half of this year alone.

According to Nielsen data (via Billboard), that number marks a 92 percent increase over the same period a year ago, when Americans streamed a mere 70.3 billion tracks by comparison.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this figure is that it came during a period when the usual suspects like Spotify, YouTube, Google Play Music and others had no new competition - notably Apple Music, which only launched this past Tuesday, right at the tail end of the six-month mark.

Now stream this

"Obviously, the streaming piece is really great news, when you're talking about darn near 100 percent growth … with no new players," Nielsen Senior Vice-President Dave Bakula told Re/code yesterday.

The growth in streaming comes somewhat at the expense of more traditional delivery methods, with sales of digital songs down 10.4 percent to 531.6 million; album sales in both CD and digital format also dipped slightly to 116 million units, a four percent drop.

Perhaps ironically, streaming critic Taylor Swift's latest album "1989" dominated the top of the charts with two million physical copies sold, but only a mere 188,213 streams following her rather vocal protest with Spotify.

TaySwif's streaming numbers should receive a nice boost for the remainder of the year now that she's front and center on Apple Music, after crying foul over the iPhone maker's "no payments" policy during the free three-month trial.