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Streaming music is increasing our total spend on music, says official industry body

When streaming music started to take off, there were many pundits suggesting that it would be the death of the music industry, with total revenues plunging. In fact, says the industry’s worldwide trade body, the opposite has been true.

Streaming music has seen total recording industry revenue rise for the fourth year running

CNET reports the numbers from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Streaming music, especially paid subscriptions, last year once again fueled the recording industry’s global growth, lifting worldwide revenue 9.7 percent to $19.1 billion in 2018, according to the music industry’s worldwide trade group Tuesday. That’s the fourth straight year of increase.

Of all categories, streaming grew most, jumping 34 percent to more than $8.93 billion and making up 47 percent of all of the world’s revenue for recorded music, IFPI said.

IFPI busts another myth: that streaming music relies mostly on free tiers.

Paid subscriptions, in fact, were the biggest slice of streaming sales, making up 32.9 percent of global revenue.

Apple Music, with no free tier after an initial free trial, has almost certainly contributed significantly to that stat.

With streaming music accounting for almost half of total music industry income, it clearly won’t be long before it makes up the majority of it – something all but certain to happen this year.

Every new method of selling recorded music has raised concerns. When cassettes overtook vinyl, there were fears that this would open the way to large-scale piracy. CDs led to worries about how easy it was to rip music, and when iTunes started selling individual tracks it was predicted that this would be the end of album sales. Streaming music would see recording revenues plummet, said many, but this too has proven a groundless fear.

Apple Music continues to roll out onto new platforms. After the Android app expanded to tablets, Apple Music launched on Amazon’s range of Echo speakers and then later to Amazon Fire TV.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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