Music Business

Downloads, Streaming See New Lows, New Highs

DownloadAlthough it is unlikely to surprise anyone, some new numbers which have recently come in have revealed milestones for both downloads and streaming, with the forming hitting an all time low, while the latter is growing faster than ever.


Guest post by Glenn Peoples of Pandora

These news items contain no surprises. But they’re notable nonetheless.

DownloadLet’s start with the state of the digital download. The top digital track had the lowest-ever weekly sales in the week ending October 27. The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” sold just 84,000 units as a #1 track, the lowest mark since Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel” sold 75,000 units in the chart dated October 28, 2006. (That’s also notable that 10 years ago a rock song peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. Right now the Hot 100 doesn’t have any songs that could reasonably be categorized as rock.)

Think back to October 2006. iTunes was just 3 years old and annual digital tracks were 6 years away from their peak in 2012. iTunes was three years away from dropping digital rights management and introducing a $1.29 price point for some tracks. Pandora was just 1 year old. This is the level to which downloads have fallen.

A couple other news items show streaming is just not trending up but growing quickly.

Vivendi-logoFirst, Sony’s latest earnings showed streaming grew 26.6 percent and accounted for 41.4 percent of recorded music revenues (excluding licensing revenue). Recall that a few months back Vivendi’s earnings release showed Universal Music Group’s streaming revenues were up 62.4 percent.

Second, the chief marketing officer of Sonos, which has unique insight into how people stream music, said the number of paid subscriptions doubled in the first half of the year. “That’s the fastest that they’ve ever grown,” he told Fast Company.

These are fun times.

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