Digital Music: Industry Trends

Digital Music Industry Trends

The global music industry has been revolutionised by digital technology and social media.  Recently published statistics suggest a further transition of the industry towards a model based on streamed music on mobile devices.

From a number of articles published at the turn of the year (see list of references below), five main music industry trends can be identified:

  • The continuing decline in CD sales – a drop of almost 13% in the UK and 14% in the US between 2012 and 2013
  • The growing importance of streaming – in 2013, 7.4bn songs were streamed in the UK, double the previous year’s total of 3.7bn.  Streaming subscription services such as Spotify, Google Play or Rdio now account for 10% (£103m) of the UK music market, an increase of 34% from £77m in 2012.  This may be a conservative estimate of the growing importance of streaming as it does not include revenue from advertising which funds free streaming services such as YouTube.  Digital downloads, by contrast, increased by only 6% on 2012.  The trend towards streaming is even more pronounced in the US where digital track sales are down from 1.34 billion units in 2012 to 1.26 billion units in 2013, a decline of nearly 6 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The number of songs streamed through services like Spotify, YouTube and Rhapsody, on the other hand, increased 32 percent to 118.1 billion
  • The growth of mobile – 20% of all music website visits now come from a mobile device.  This is expected to increase to 30-35% within the next year
  • The resurgence of vinyl from 4.55 million album sales in 2012 to 6 million in 2013

Have you made the transition to mobile streaming for your music yet? When was the last time you bought a CD?

As always, comment and feedback are very welcome.



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