Year 2014 has gone and we can say that streaming music is taking over the world. Is this good or bad for the music industry?
The final numbers show that last year Americans streamed 164 billion songs. Yes, billion. This equals half a billion per day. The growth of streaming music is 54% and it seems that this trend will continue in 2015. It is obvious that the way in which people listen music has changed.
On the other side, the album sales (both physical and downloads) have 11.2% decline. From 1.34 billion in 2012, the sales drop to 250 million last year. The result is hundreds of millions in lost revenue.
While there were millions of albums which are streamed instead of purchased, the difference between them is so massive, it might actually have evened out. All those streams equal just over 56 million albums - a number greater than the actual loss in album sales from last year.
As an addition, since the streaming services are almost free, the customers are much more willing to stream all kinds of music, listening to a greater number of songs and albums than they normally would if they had to pay for it.
The royalties from streaming doesn’t necessarily replace revenue from the album sales, but they also doesn’t entirely screw everyone, as illegal downloads have done for a decade. The times have changed, so artists and labels are simultaneously working on finding new revenue streams and on ensuring that everybody be paid fairly as the industry grows.