In this series of posts from Reportlinker, we review the latest music and tech news, with one big statistic per news item. All you need to know—in numbers!


Last year’s increase in music revenue came mostly thanks to streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music. Will the trend stay positive in 2016? Let’s have a look at the numbers behind that boost.

3.2%: The percentage the industry grew globally in 2015, reaching $15 billion in value. In addition to seeing the first increase in 17 years, 2015 also marked the first time digital sales outnumbered physical music sales. Physical sales totaled $5.8 billion, a 4.5% drop, while digital sales totaled $6.7 billion, a 10.2% increase. However, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) says it’s too early to celebrate for now: the 3.2% doesn’t come close to making up for the 35% drop the industry has endured over the last two decades. Source: Music Ally

34%: The percentage of music industry revenue in the United States that comes from streaming music sales, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). That’s up from 27% in 2014, and means streaming has surpassed digital download sales. In 2015, streaming sales totaled $2.4 billion while digital sales were $2.3 billion. The RIAA says the revenue generated from streaming music-service subscriptions totaled $1 billion last year. Source: Music Ally

10 million: The number of subscribers Apple Music gained during its first six months. By comparison, it took Spotify six years to reach the same mark. Apple Music is growing at a rate of 10% per month, according to the music streaming site. Its success is due in part to other Apple devices, 1 billion of which have the Apple Music app. In addition, it has a large music catalogue—larger than Pandora’s—with 30 million songs. Subscriptions start at $10 a month. Source: Yahoo Finance

900 million: The estimated number of nonpaying music listeners on legitimate websites. These users contributed $634 million in revenue to the music industry. According to YouTube, only 20% of listeners are willing to pay for music. Many users of YouTube and other sites upload music without permission and worry about legalities later. The IPAA issues take-down notices to those who have violated licensing rules. In 2016, 94% of the notices were sent to users who had previously received them. Music artists, though, depend on the exposure of websites to drive sales. Source: The Wall Street Journal

17.4 million: The number of copy’s singer Adele’s album “25” sold in 2015. That’s five times more than second place finishers Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran whose albums both sold 3.5 million copies. The top single, “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, sold 20.9 million copies. Last year, YouTube paid $3 million in licensing agreements to the recording industry. The IPAA, however, says music streamed on sites like YouTube which are supported by advertising are exempt from paying fees or pay lesser fees. The IPAA calls this a “value gap”. Source: WPXI News


Top photo: Apple Music, © Apple

About Author

Melina Druga is an author and freelance journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @MelinaDruga.

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