Streaming and LPs are the only areas of the U.S. music industry that saw growth between this year and last, according to Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard.
On-demand audio streaming, which includes services like Rdio, Deezer, Spotify, Beats Music, Songza and others, grew 50.1% between December 30th, 2013 and June 29th, 2014 to 33.6 billion plays. As those monthly subscription services gain new features and compete on cost, many former digital music customers are balking at the high cost of a la carte purchases, opting to spend a set monthly fee for access to tens of millions of songs. At the same time, former paid-only services like Spotfiy, Rdio and others have added free ad-supported tiers to foster growth.
The data charts digital track and album sales between mid-2013 and mid-2014, showing a 13% and 12% drop respectively. Coupled with lower physical CD sales of almost 20%, on-demand streams are the only major source of growth in the industry.
LP sales, as far from “mobile” as you can get these days, grew by 40%, from 2.9 to 4 million units.
While the numbers are U.S.-based, they likely mirror the Canadian market — albeit on a higher scale — quite closely. In the past year, we’ve seen products growth and consolidation in the area, with new entrants like Beats Music getting swallowed by Apple and, more recently, Songza being bought by Google — which also brought Play Music to Canada in the past few months.