Streaming music services like Spotify continue to increase in popularity — possibly at the expense of traditional music downloads.
The Recording Industry Association of America, the U.S. music industry's main trade group, said Sept. 25 that revenue from streaming services like Spotify is now offsetting the decline in revenue seen by download services like iTunes. Overall, U.S. music streaming revenue grew 28% to $859 million in the first half of 2014.
Streaming services now account for 27% of overall music industry revenue in the U.S. The U.S. music industry generated $3.2 billion in retail revenue in the first half of 2014.
In January the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said revenue from subscription-based streaming services topped $1 billion for the first time ever in 2013. Total streaming revenue reached $1.11 billion in the year.
Global digital music revenue, which includes traditional music downloads, reached $5.9 billion in 2013, an increase of 4.3% from 2012. Overall music revenue, including revenue from physical formats, reached $15 billion, a 3.9% decline from 2012.
Nielsen SoundScan noted in January that sales of individual music tracks declined in 2013 for the first time since the 2003 launch of the iTunes Store. Sales were down 5.7% in the year. Sales of full albums were down 0.1% in the year.
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Digital album sales were down despite several high-profiles releases in 2013, including albums from Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry (pictured). Beyonce's album, released exclusively on iTunes Dec. 13, 2013, was the second best selling album of the year with 972,000 units sold.
66% of all people who stream music online say they won't pay for a premium account, according to an Aug. 29 survey from the Midia Research media and technology analysis firm. The survey notes that people are generally satisfied with free, ad-supported services like YouTube, Pandora, and Spotify, and don't see a need to pay.
"Every new generation of music service steals from the last generation's customers. Apple stole Amazon's best CD buyers, and Spotify has now stolen those same customers from Apple — or at least the same sorts of people."
The Midia Research survey also notes that 25% of all people who stream music online now spend less on music downloads than they used to.
Midia Research suggests that the music industry should consider different price points for premium streaming services in order to grow the overall market. In the UK, one streaming service, MusicQubed, is experimenting with an inexpensive plan (1GBP per week, around $1.66) that grants access to Top 40 songs.
The Recording Industry Association of America on May 28 hailed the so-called six strikes anti-piracy program, saying it has helped convince people to seeks legal alternatives to music piracy.