Streaming now accounts for 37% of global recorded music revenue

streaming, streaming music, streaming revenue, 2019, music business, music industry, music, music revenue

Paid streaming subscriptions have taken the world by storm, and their increasing domination in the recorded music marketplace is likely to continue.

It’s no surprise that paid streaming subscriptions are on the rise worldwide. Here in the US, a report from the RIAA discovered that paid subscription streaming in the US remained the largest driver of revenue for the American music industry. Their data was backed up by a similar report from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), which published its own findings showing that paid streaming revenue has also overtaken physical and download revenue in the UK.  The ERA found that 62.1% of all British music revenue last year came from paid subscription streaming.  Just 37.9% came from physical sales and digital downloads.

And we cannot forget the British. A recent data dump from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) revealed paid subscription streams accounted for 54% of British labels’ income last year.  Revenue from these streams grew 34% over 2017 to £468 million ($614 million).  Overall streaming music revenue grew to £516 million ($687 million).  Ad-funded streams (Spotify, Deezer, etc.) grew 25.8% to £19 million ($25 million).

As if all those reports were not enough to confirm paid streaming subscriptions impending rule over the recorded music marketplace, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has released its own report for 2018.

The report, which is available online, reveals that the global recorded music market grew 9.7% year-over-year in 2018 to $19.1 billion, thanks in large part to paid streaming subscriptions (which accounted for 37% of total global revenue). That figure is impressive, but more impressive still is the fact that all streaming-related revenue grew 34% year-over-year to $9 billion, accounting for 47% – essentially half – of all global revenue.  

The continued growth of streaming revenue helped to offset a 10.1% decline in physical revenue and a 21.2% drop in download revenue. Figures that, if trends hold true, will continue to drop in 2019.

Speaking to the report, IFPI’s Chief Executive Francis Moore explained:

“Last year represented the fourth consecutive year of growth, driven by great music from incredible artists in partnership with talented, passionate people in record companies around the world.

“We continue to work for the respect and recognition of music copyright around the world, and for the resolution of the value gap by establishing a level playing field for negotiating a fair deal for those who create music.

“Above all, we’re working to ensure that music continues its exciting, global journey.”

Artists around the world are continuing to fight for higher royalty rates while asking fans to consider purchasing physical media, but the fact remains that streaming is here to stay. The question is whether or not the companies that provide the services will work with artists to raise their returns or continue to keep mechanical royalties as low as possible.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.