According to some handy analysis of RIAA data from Music Business Worldwide, it’s official that streaming platforms in the US are making more than downloads did at their peak.
The report claims that the peak of digital download sales came in 2012 at $3.02bn in comparison to the $3.93bn generated by streaming in 2016, representing a 68% year-on-year rise in revenues. So, streaming has finally hit the tipping point in the US at least, though the writing has been on the wall for some time, with declining download sales, and everyone banging on about the vinyl revival despite it representing a small fraction of the overall market.
The numbers tell a good story and, as MBW also points out it’s a scenario that even the high priest of elegant tech and allegedly appalling working conditions Steve Jobs couldn’t anticipate- but hasn’t it always been obvious? Everything from audiobooks to coffee has shifted to a subscription model and music is in fact lagging behind in comparison to other entertainment areas.
Immediacy and access are crowned king as the importance of ownership declines. But is there room for two on the streaming throne? If not, Jobs may well end up having the last laugh.
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