Music Streaming Eats Downloads; Revenue Plunged by 40% Since 2017

Music Streaming Eats Downloads; Revenue Plunged by 40% Since 2017

Over the past decade, digital music consumption shifted from downloads to streaming, turning streaming services into the driving force of the music industry. And while the streaming segment continues surging, racking up more revenue than ever, the music downloads industry faces a decade of continuous decline.

According to data presented by OnlyAccounts.io, the global music downloads industry is expected to generate only $1.3bn in revenue next year, showing a massive 40% drop since 2017.

Music Downloads to Bring in $1.3B in 2024, 21x Less than Streaming Services

Streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music have entirely changed the landscape of the music industry. Their massive popularity among Gen Zers and Millenials, who prefer the subscription economy, has helped these services reach hundreds of millions of users worldwide and become the largest revenue stream in this industry. But as streaming services grew, other revenue streams like physical sales and downloads melted away.

According to a Statista survey, back in 2017, streaming services generated just over $10bn in revenue, while music downloads brought in another $2.3bn. Over the next three years, streaming revenues practically doubled, reaching nearly $19bn, while download revenue dropped below $2bn. The opposite trend has continued ever since, with the streaming segment climbing to all-time highs while music downloads continued to fall.

The Statista data show that streaming services grossed $25.8bn in revenue this year, or 158% more than in 2017, while the downloads segment brought in $1.4bn, the lowest revenue in years. Statista expects music downloads revenue to drop by a further 2.5% to only $1.36bn in 2024, while the streaming services will bring 21 times more than that, or $29.6bn.

Streaming Services to Make 72% of Global Music Revenue in 2024; Downloads Only 3%

The surging number of music streaming subscriptions has helped streaming platforms to increase their revenue share tenfold in the past decade. Back in 2012, streaming made up only 6% of the total music industry revenue, or roughly $900 million; last year, its revenue share jumped to 71%.

With more and more people willing to pay for music streaming subscriptions, Statista expects this figure to grow even further. In 2024, the global digital music industry is expected to gross over $41bn in revenue, and 72% of that value will come from streaming services like Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music.

The Downloads segment saw just the opposite trend. In 2017, music downloads made up 15% of the total digital music revenue. This figure is expected to drop to only 3% next year.