Here Is Why Paid Streaming Services Are The Reason Music Revenue Is Growing


The annual year end report from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has recently been released and the statistics revealed might shock you. The graph shown proudly revealed that paid subscriptions to on-demand streaming services jumped an incredible 25 percent over the past year. That’s especially noteworthy considering the report also says that streaming consumption increased incrementally in comparison, from 75 percent to 79 percent over the past year, in 2019.

The results showed that a number of people clearly favour listening to music via streaming, which isn’t a surprise anymore as services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music boast hundreds of millions of subscribers combined, and are extremely popular for convenience purposes. Getting people to convert from free subscriptions to paid subscriptions wasn’t always as easy as it sounds. Previously, it had been a constant struggle with services’ to try and appeal to consumers, but companies quickly began to add more robust offerings in recent years like podcasts, music videos, and lyrics, and family plans (just to name a few) to make the monthly fee more attractive to individuals.

As shown, comments by RIAA CEO and chairman Mitch Glazier, “paid streaming services added an average of more than 1 million new subscriptions per month, as the total number of paid subscribers in the US topped 60 million.” That jump in paid subscriptions accounted for 93 percent of streaming revenue growth in 2019, equating to about $1.4 billion in revenue.

See graph for reference below:

While we’re still a long way off the revenues that the industry was recording in the peak-CD pre-Napster era that people only dream of now, Goldman Sachs is predicting that streaming alone will be worth $37.2bn USD a year to the industry by 2030, while Media Research estimates that consumer-spending on streaming (as opposed to trade revenues) could reach $45.3bn USD by 2026.

One of 2019’s most positive trends were the figures coming out of markets that were either slow to benefit from the streaming upswing, or those that have experienced bumps along the way.

France, for example, only saw 1.8% growth in its recorded market in 2018, but then 12.7% growth in the first half of 2019. In Germany, revenues fell slightly in 2018 but grew by 7.9% in the first half of 2019. Spain, meanwhile, saw 5.9% growth in 2018 trumped by a 27% spike in the first half of 2019 alone. Awareness of these statistics alone seem to be boosting its popularity. We’re also now more than ever starting to see real momentum in music in ‘underdog’ territories like Latin America, China, India and southeast Asia, as well as some positive early-shoots in Africa.

It’s also, as people have been dutifully pointing out, not a moment for complacency. With money flowing in to the industry, it’s a time for bold investments in artists and technologies alike; for experimentation, not caution.

“We should never be complacent and think that happy days are here to stay. You should always be looking to evolve, to anticipate the needs of the market and the changes in the market and to serve your audience and serve your fans,” Warner Music Group’s Stu Bergen said in a statement to MusicAlly back in April of 2019, as the IFPI announced its latest figures.

Spotify’s recent ‘Wrapped 2019’ promotion saw hundreds of thousands of fans sharing stats on how much they’d been listening to their favourite artists, and artists sharing figures on their overall streams to social media. The Wrapped ‘cards’ were unavoidable on social media for a couple of days and it showed audiences a little insight into just how much time they spend listening to music, what genre, etc.

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