We’ve all seen streaming take off in near-real-time, with Spotify making decent inroads in South Africa even before its official launch. Deezer, Joox, a set of wholly-local options… streaming is here to stay. And, based on a new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), music streaming has taken over how most folks access music.
The new RIAA report has a few things to say about the music industry (in America — note the second ‘A’ in the title) but we’re only really interested in a few of them. Specifically the stats on how music consumption was split for 2018. The results are surprising, in that streaming is the dominant source of music in the US. Music streaming accounts for 75% of revenue collected by the music industry, making up $7.4 billion in revenue and “…accounting for virtually all the revenue growth for the year.”
Read more: How to get the most from Spotify
By contrast, digital downloads (which you might get from Apple Music or via websites like Bandcamp) made up just 11% of 2018’s American music venues. Perhaps even more remarkable, 12% of music bought in the States was physical media. Vinyl, CDs, that sort of thing — meaning that physical music isn’t quite dead yet. Even if it’s dropped 22.8% from 2018. That’s still $1.15 billion for the year, while digital downloads scooped in about $1 billion. That also represents a 26% dip, year-on-year. At least there’s no guessing as to where that lost revenue is going. Folks are streaming. Why? Cos it’s easy. And relatively cheap.
While we don’t have similar stats concerning local music splits, the fact that our American friends are moving more and more in the direction of streaming is a pretty sure indicator of where the rest of the worlds is headed. That does mean we’ll need some better (and more reliable) internet access. But with Rain implementing 5G as soon as this year, that should solve the problem sooner than we think.