Streaming Music Subscriptions Boast Big Revenues, Growing Bases - eMarketer

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Streaming Music Subscriptions Boast Big Revenues, Growing Bases

More people are tuning in to ad-based user upload services, but subscription services bring in the revenue

April 19, 2016

Spotify, TIDAL and other streaming music sites continue to grow their subscriber bases. An April 2016 report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) shows that in 2015, subscriptions boomed in the streaming music service industry.

Streaming Music Service Subscribers Worldwide, 2012-2015 (millions and % change)

IFPI estimated that there were 68 million streaming music service subscribers in 2015, a growth rate of 45.2% from 2014’s 41 million. While growth had previously been steady but not outrageous, the jump of 27 million subscribers in a single year is remarkable.

Despite this giant leap for subscriptions to streaming music services, ad-supported user upload services—think YouTube or Soundcloud—remain massively popular across the globe. IFPI estimates that there were nearly 1 billion listeners worldwide in 2015.

Subscription Streaming vs. Ad-Supported User Upload* Music Listeners vs. Revenues Worldwide, 2015

But for the music industry, concerned perhaps more with revenues than listeners, backing streaming is the way to go. Streaming subscription services brought in $2 billion in 2015; sites like YouTube brought in about $630 million. With streaming subscriptions bring in so much cash, it’s worthwhile to examine what attracts consumers.

A January 2016 report by Nielsen revealed that for US consumers, cost of subscription service was both the leading attractive element—83% of those who use streaming music services cited cost as a leading reason—and detriment. Nearly half of those surveyed say they don’t subscribe because a subscriptions are too expensive.

eMarketer estimates that there will be 112.3 million mobile phone music listeners in 2016. Tablet music listeners are forecast at 82 million in 2016. The Recording Industry Association of America, meanwhile, estimates that streaming made up 34.3% of US music industry revenues in 2015.

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