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The rapid growth in streaming music services has led to a recovery in fortunes of the global recorded music industry. Photo: Reuters
The rapid growth in streaming music services has led to a recovery in fortunes of the global recorded music industry. Photo: Reuters

Streaming tops physical music sales for the first time ever

Online streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have become the music industry's single biggest revenue source, overtaking physical sales and digital downloads for the first time

London: Online streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music have become the music industry’s single biggest revenue source, overtaking physical sales and digital downloads for the first time, a global industry body said on Tuesday.

The rapid growth in streaming music services has led to a recovery in fortunes of the global recorded music industry, which enjoyed its third year of positive revenue growth, according to a report by industry trade group IFPI. By 2014, music sales had fallen by 40% to $14.3 billion in the 15 years since 1999, when the rise of music file-sharing service Napster ravaged sales of CDs and the development of download services like Apple iTunes failed to offset declines.

Last year, subscription-based streaming revenue accounted for 38% of all recorded music, up from 29% the year before, IFPI said.

IFPI’s Global Music Report 2018 shows revenues for 2017 at $17.3 billion, with an increase of 8.1% from the previous year.

Industry leaders say the rise of music streaming is enabling the market to reach new regions, while helping weaning a generation of music fans away from free or pirated music. “We estimate only half the world’s population lives in a thriving music environment and we want to bring the streaming revolution to all of it," Stu Bergen, from Warner Music Group, said. Reuters

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