Global music streaming leapfrog CD sales for first time

Music streaming tips the balance as sales leapfrog CD’s for first time

The once dominant CD market appears to be entering its final swansong following the publication of new figures showing that the once dominant gateway to music access has now been leapfrogged by surging music streaming revenues.

Surging popularity of services such as Spotify, Apple and Amazon Music saw total music streaming services rose by 41% to hit $6.6bn, equivalent to a 38% slice of the global recorded music market, by contrast the sale of physical formats, such as CD’s and vinyl, slipped 5.4% to $5.2bn – equivalent to a market share of 30%.

This tipping point should come as a surprise to no-one however with the diverging fortunes of both markets evident for years, with CD sales falling precipitously since 2000.

While physical mediums wane global recorded music revenues are on a high, registering a third consecutive year of growth in 2017 of 8.1%, reaching $17.3bn as it emerges from a 15-year period of decline.

The figures were detailed in the IFPI global music report 2018, which struck a note of caution when interpreting the trends. Chief executive Frances Moore wrote: “The race is far from won,” she said. “There has [only been] three years of recovery. There is a structural fault in the market, a mismatch between what user-upload platforms are making from music and what they are returning to rights-holders. Until that is fixed there will always be a struggle to keep growth in the marketplace.”

These changes are driving continued innovation in the market with Spotify unveiling a new ad-supported free service to win over fickle music fans.

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