Paid and ad-supported streaming now makes up nearly half of all global revenue from recorded music and downloads continue their slow-motion car crash, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s much-read Global Music Report.
The 2019 edition (covering 2018) has a topline boasting of over $19.1 billion in global music sales, an increase of 9.7% over 2017. This was driven by a 34% increase in subscription streaming.
The biggest news is streaming’s continuing cannibalization of overall industry revenue. Barely registering on revenue charts 10 years ago (for example – the chart below from the IFPI report), audio streaming now accounts for 47%, or nearly half, of all recorded music revenue. A quarter of streaming revenue comes from ads on free streams.
And also of note (and also not surprising): the download market is nearing total collapse. Green arrows still point upward on vinyl sales (and even CDs in certain markets, though certainly not most of them), but nobody is heralding an MP3 renaissance. Revenue from music downloads collapsed in 2018 – down 21.2% from 2017’s anemic numbers and now just 7.7% of the market.
It should be noted that the IFPI is an association of the recorded music industry. It’s supported by record companies, and much of the report should be seen through this lens. What is remarkable is the second half of this report is practically a love letter aiming to persuade artists not to forsake the Big Three’s loving embrace of their careers. Everyone is going to quote this report today, few are going to point this part out to you.
You can bask in the feel-good vibes by downloading the Global Music Report 2019 here.