Streaming isn’t rescuing the music industry yet

Will streaming music on services such as Spotify or YouTube not only offset the losses to the music industry but bring a new era of growth and sales?

The answer is not yet.

According to SoundScan Nielsen, downloading albums fell by 9 percent and individual songs by 12 percent in 2014, as the Wall Street Journal reported. Consumers bought 1.1 billion digital songs, down from 1.26 billion in 2013.

In contrast, people streamed 164 billion songs last year, up 54 percent from 2013.

That sounds promising until one considers how the music industry views the different formats when calculating revenue:

Using the industry’s standard conversions, counting 1,500 song streams or 10 individual song downloads as an album sale, overall music consumption didn’t change significantly from 2013 to 2014.

Musicians have raised concerns about the streaming model. Taylor Swift, who had the biggest album of the year with her “1989,” pulled her music from Spotify, as I wrote about last year.

She wasn’t followed by a stampede of other artists, The Guardian noted.

Above: Taylor Swift. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP, File)


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  • Wake Robin

    The Music Industry is just as corrupt, cowardly and corporatised as the Hollywood film industry and our federal government. The result is always the same: no creativity, no connection to actual human resonance and no future. I hope that people are making up the difference by creating, performing, recording and listening to their own music in their homes, their hangouts and their streets.