The ever popular streaming artist effect

Never mind albums and cassettes. Now CDs and digital downloads have had their day:

For the first time ever, streaming music has eclipsed both of those ways to get music. Streaming from Spotify, Apple, Pandora, even Tidal now accounts for 51% of all music sales according to the RIAA.

The gold record? A thing of the past. There is nothing to frame for the walls of rock stars. Maybe you get a digital wall now, too. In a virtual mansion.

The good news, they say, is that revenue was up for the industry by almost a billion dollars. It’s been flat or down for the last several years.

There are 22.6 million paid streaming subscriptions. (This means everyone else is listening to ads.)

But the bads news is for the artists. Royalties on streaming sales are much lower than downloads or CDs. The artist is suffering. The execs are not. So the Industry is happy.

Actual CDs sold– the total money value was down 20% from 2015 to 2016. Digital permanent downloads were the same or worse– Singles, which everyone thought was driving the business, are down more than albums.

3 thoughts on “The ever popular streaming artist effect

  1. I have noticed this in its simplist form. In 2014 I released a couple of Salander albums on Bandcamp where people could download for free or pay something. One in four paid and I was happy with the result. The albums were also streamed. Around a hundred streams to each download. Fast forward to 2017 and Brad and I have released an album again to Bandcamp. This time the paid to free ratio is one in seven but harldly anyone is downloading. They are listening on the site and in most cases all the way through to the end of the song. It seems no one wants to own anything musical anymore. I am glad I don’t have to make a living at it. I did it for charity but I’m afraid it isn’t going to get much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Morey

      It is interesting to hear your perspective, Dave. Personally, I loathe streaming. I’m half-n-half on downloading, mainly because iTunes is convenient and often inexpensive. However, for prog bands I really really like, I much prefer to have a physical copy. However, most other 22 year olds aren’t like me. Yeah, I rip all of my CDs to iTunes and usually listen to my music on my computer, but I also like looking at the artwork and the booklet, and blasting the CD on my Dad’s stereo once in a while is always fun. It seems that for many prog fans, physical copies are still quite popular, but with the average age of the prog listener (who has enough money to buy physical copies) gradually increasing, I wonder how long that will last.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well I still download from either bandcamp or iTunes and then buy on CD if I really like an artist and even if I am sent a free download for a review . We need to somehow keep supporting the new artists out there ! Thanks for your excellent article.

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