Streaming music usurps digital downloads for first time in 2015, RIAA says

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2016
In 2015, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music generated $2.4 billion for the wider U.S. music industry to surpass sales from digital stores like iTunes, according to new data from the Recording Industry Association of America.




Streaming revenue's share of total industry revenue grew from 27 percent in 2014 to 34.3 percent in 2015 (PDF link), enough to slip by collective digital music sales, which accounted for 34 percent of the market over the same period. A long time coming, and riding a groundswell of momentum, streaming's overthrow of outright digital sales augurs a fundamental shift in user preference.

Breaking down the data further, the RIAA says all sectors of the streaming market grew last year, including revenue from streaming radio services distributed by SoundExchange. Revenues from paid subscriptions for services like Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal, rose 50.3 percent year-over-year, while ad-supported on-demand streaming outlets like YouTube jumped 30.6 percent. With an annual average of 10.8 million subscribers helping to drive $2.4 billion in overall revenue -- the first time streaming crossed the $2 billion threshold -- the sector was up 29 percent.

By comparison, revenue from digital downloads fell 12.8 percent for singles and 5.2 percent for full albums, ending the year at $1.25 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. Kiosk, ringtone and music video sales brought in another $64.7 million.

On the whole, the music industry grew 0.9 percent year-over-year to generate more than $7 billion.

The smartphone revolution is thought to have catalyzed adoption of streaming music solutions. And with the rise of attractive cellular data plans, a result of mobile providers' fight for marketshare, music services offering vast content libraries and all-you-can-eat subscriptions have become viable options for a wider demographic.

Apple, whose iTunes platform popularized and currently dominates the digital downloads market, launched its own Apple Music streaming service last year. With an app built in to millions of iOS devices, Apple Music is enjoying a strong debut, reaching 11 million subscribers as of February.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,635member
    How about releasing some decent music not just disposable elevator ditties?
  • Reply 2 of 14
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Apple came in just at the right time, as usual.

    As for disposable elevator ditties? Huh what?

    There are tens of thousands of indie songs that are not that if your so inclined, along with elevator ditties if that's your bag.

    It's not like the 2000s or 1990s were the summum of music.

    For me, the best music was the 1960s and 1980s, but these days are pretty good too considering how broad the musical choices are compared to even the late 1990s or early 2000s (that's when the true desert existed).

    dysamoriakevin keeJanNL
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Not surprised since so many people flocks to Apple Music, me being one.
    kevin kee
  • Reply 4 of 14
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    Only a matter of time before the big "record" companies stop selling downloadable songs to focus on subscription models...
  • Reply 5 of 14
    matrix077 said:
    Not surprised since so many people flocks to Apple Music, me being one.
    I don't think so.  There are 800 million iTunes users, but only 11 million pay for Apple Music.  That is nothing.  Most people that listen to streaming music, listen to it for free from Spotify or Pandora.  They don't pay for rental music.  I prefer owning my music with the occasional digital download, or physical CD from my favorite artist so I can listen to the uncompressed CD at home or rip it at the quality I desire for away from home or in the car.  I don't want to listen to a heavily compressed stream, or rely on the internet for my music.
    jony0argonaut
  • Reply 6 of 14
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member
    Aren't CDs compressed?
  • Reply 7 of 14
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,635member
    lkrupp said:
    mattinoz said:
    How about releasing some decent music not just disposable elevator ditties?
    How about you go and lick a yack’s butt.
    Sure worth a try I guess but I just don't see how that is going to help me find new music to buy?
    Still who's going to knock back a trip Tibet.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    matrix077 said:
    Not surprised since so many people flocks to Apple Music, me being one.
    I don't think so.  There are 800 million iTunes users, but only 11 million pay for Apple Music.  That is nothing.  Most people that listen to streaming music, listen to it for free from Spotify or Pandora.  They don't pay for rental music.  I prefer owning my music with the occasional digital download, or physical CD from my favorite artist so I can listen to the uncompressed CD at home or rip it at the quality I desire for away from home or in the car.  I don't want to listen to a heavily compressed stream, or rely on the internet for my music.
    11M in february and seemingly gaining 1-2M a month (8M estimated in december), so probably at least 13M now, Spotify has 30M subscribers, paid and not paid. It's likely Apple will pass Spotify in paid subscribers pretty soon.

    That's nothing now... Just like the Internet was "nothing" in 1995.
    It is likely Apple will reach 25M paying subscribers by the end of the year; the family plan in particular is going to hurt Spotify bad.
    I would not be surprised if Apple goes Netflix and have a video service by years end too.

    There is a kind of network effect with the propagation of these kind of things.
    It grows slowly but surely until a threshold is met (a lot of your friends have it) and then, bang it goes to the moon.

    By the end of 2018, Apple could even sell the Apple music service as part of buying the phone (for those that finance).

    So, Apple would sell experience and not just hardware; that's what Jobs wanted, that tech disapeers and becomes of tool to live fuller lives, not being slaves to it.
    The constantly upgraded hardware would just be a means to deliver the best experience and would become transparent to the user, they get a phone in the mail, initiate an upgrade and both phones get synced and then you just put the old phone in the box (it's now wiped) and ship it, and you use the new phone.

    You'd pay say $50 a month a you constantly have the latest greatest phone, watch and all the music and videos you want.


    Myself got 30K tunes ripped from CD's and Vinyls (collected over 30+ years) but within 10 years, we'll be seen as quaint dinosaurs..
    edited March 2016 JanNLargonaut
  • Reply 9 of 14
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,274member
    foggyhill said:
    I don't think so.  There are 800 million iTunes users, but only 11 million pay for Apple Music.  That is nothing.  Most people that listen to streaming music, listen to it for free from Spotify or Pandora.  They don't pay for rental music.  I prefer owning my music with the occasional digital download, or physical CD from my favorite artist so I can listen to the uncompressed CD at home or rip it at the quality I desire for away from home or in the car.  I don't want to listen to a heavily compressed stream, or rely on the internet for my music.
    11M in february and seemingly gaining 1-2M a month (8M estimated in december), so probably at least 13M now, Spotify has 30M subscribers, paid and not paid. It's likely Apple will pass Spotify in paid subscribers pretty soon.

    That's nothing now... Just like the Internet was "nothing" in 1995.
    It is likely Apple will reach 25M paying subscribers by the end of the year; the family plan in particular is going to hurt Spotify bad.
    I would not be surprised if Apple goes Netflix and have a video service by years end too.

    There is a kind of network effect with the propagation of these kind of things.
    It grows slowly but surely until a threshold is met (a lot of your friends have it) and then, bang it goes to the moon.

    By the end of 2018, Apple could even sell the Apple music service as part of buying the phone (for those that finance).

    So, Apple would sell experience and not just hardware; that's what Jobs wanted, that tech disapeers and becomes of tool to live fuller lives, not being slaves to it.
    The constantly upgraded hardware would just be a means to deliver the best experience and would become transparent to the user, they get a phone in the mail, initiate an upgrade and both phones get synced and then you just put the old phone in the box (it's now wiped) and ship it, and you use the new phone.

    You'd pay say $50 a month a you constantly have the latest greatest phone, watch and all the music and videos you want.


    Myself got 30K tunes ripped from CD's and Vinyls (collected over 30+ years) but within 10 years, we'll be seen as quaint dinosaurs..
    No, Apple will not have 25M paying subscriber's by the end of the year. 
  • Reply 10 of 14
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 868member
    matrix077 said:
    Not surprised since so many people flocks to Apple Music, me being one.
    I don't think so.  There are 800 million iTunes users, but only 11 million pay for Apple Music.  
    800 million is Apple users, not iTunes users. How many people use Apple products and buy songs from iTunes? Only a minority I believe. The majority, 99.9% of Asian users for example, will never buy a song from iTunes (or anywhere else) while Apple Music users ARE Apple Music users. They pay or they couldn't stream after 3 months.

    BTW, I have a huge collection of 24/96 music files in FLAC that got converted to Apple Lossless format when I converted to Mac, but I still subscribed to Apple Music for music discovery and convenience. YMMV.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 11 of 14
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,274member
    matrix077 said:
    I don't think so.  There are 800 million iTunes users, but only 11 million pay for Apple Music.  
    800 million is Apple users, not iTunes users. How many people use Apple products and buy songs from iTunes? Only a minority I believe. The majority, 99.9% of Asian users for example, will never buy a song from iTunes (or anywhere else) while Apple Music users ARE Apple Music users. They pay or they couldn't stream after 3 months.

    BTW, I have a huge collection of 24/96 music files in FLAC that got converted to Apple Lossless format when I converted to Mac, but I still subscribed to Apple Music for music discovery and convenience.
    Exactly, I despise iTunes. What a cluster fuck. I only use it once a month to have a hard backup of my iproducts because I have to use it. Otherwise, I wish I could delete it. 
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 12 of 14
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Kinda sad that streaming is taking over. Artists need to go independent otherwise they'll be making middle class paychecks. Not sure why Apple is jumping on the independent artist opportunity. Hire them exclusively, pay them MORE and make MORE without the record labels. Just have them under the "Apple Music" label.

    It's depressing when (mostly android) kids brag about stealing music and call people "stupid" for paying for art. I think the government needs to come down hard on these thieves otherwise music will continue to be stolen. I'd start with YouTube and sue the fu** out of them for having so much unlicensed music uploaded. I'm around teens regularly and they mostly use low quality YouTube videos uploaded by other teens and never purchase a single song. Heck there's a teen sitting across the room right now doing this. 
    Dont kid yourselves YouTube is the new Napster except 20x worse.
    wonkothesane
  • Reply 13 of 14
    propodpropod Posts: 67member
    foggyhill said:
    Spotify has 30M subscribers, paid and not paid.
    ..

    Wrong, they have more than 30M paying subscribers and a total of 100M active users.
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