We’ve talked before about how music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify have taken over the music market. Many younger listeners no longer purchase either physical CDs or digital MP3s. Instead, they use subscriptions services to listen to their music.
These services usually offer a free option with commercials and limits on the amount of music you listen to or they offer paid commercial-free subscriptions that sometimes give you unlimited listening.
Users listen to the music with smartphone apps or on a computer. The growing importance of streaming is made clear by recent earnings from the Warner Music Group. For the first time, streaming income has overtaken the sales of purchased digital music.
Streaming increased by 25 million dollars in revenue in the first 3 months of 2015, while digital downloads actually dropped – by $22 million. That left the total digital revenue flat, but shows many digital customers are moving away from purchases to streaming services.
That’s not to say that physical media is dead. Older customers still prefer it and the company says that sales of physical music is actually up by $12 million dollars. They credit strong sales by Kid Rock and Led Zeppelin albums in countries where streaming services aren’t so widely available. It’s interesting, since physical sales are down close to 10% worldwide.
Physical sales seem to be enjoying a rebound in the U.S., partly in thanks to the resurgence in popularity of vinyl among younger buyers. My local Barnes & Noble recently added a vinyl section and the record store I patronized back in my college days just announced that they have so much vinyl that they will be breaking it up into categories.
* photo courtesy of Finders Records