RIAA’s 2015 year-end music sales & shipments report is now published with a unique and comprehensive look at the state of the U.S. music business. A quick snapshot reveals that streaming, now the largest revenue-generator for the industry, helped grow the overall business by just shy of 1% year-over-year.
Recorded music is the most mature segment of mobile entertainment. Given the current spread across competing platforms, it’s clear that online digital distribution is now the core of that industry. And, when offered a choice, fewer people will opt to own copies of music recordings.
American music streaming service revenues increased by 29% last year to reach $1.87 billion, accounting for more than one-quarter of total industry revenues. Growth was at the expense of both digital downloads and physical media revenues.
Digital audio consumption is moving to mobile. American smartphone listeners will grow nearly 15% to just under 100 million people — that’s 52.3% of smartphone users. Moreover, 77.3 million people will listen via tablets — that’s 45.5% of digital music listeners and 48.7% of tablet users.
The consumption of music on mobile devices is the key trend to watch. It’s a huge market. Strategy Analytics says that the total global mobile music market value will grow from $12.8 billion in 2014 to reach $21.3 billion by 2021. However, there’s been a decline in pay-per-download sales.
The popularity of music streaming services in the UK continues unabated. The British Recorded Music Industry says music listeners in the UK streamed 14.8 billion tracks in 2014 — that’s up by 97.3% on the 7.5 billion streamed in 2013.
The competition for market share in the mobile cloud arena will escalate during 2015. The cloud content and services markets — enabled by the ubiquity of smartphones and media tablets — are now the battleground between major content providers, device manufacturers and internet service providers.