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Music Market Celebrates Strongest Performance in Years

Music Market Analysis and Commentary

27 April 2016 - Futuresource's latest global music market report cites 2015 as the most successful year the music market had seen in 15 years, based on year-on-year performance. Global consumer spend across packaged, subscription and pay-per downloads grew by 5% to reach almost $19 billion, primarily fueled by the growth in streaming music subscription services, which accounted for one quarter of all music market spend.

"Continued growth in the overall music market is expected over the forecast period, with streaming subscriptions set to account for 70% of consumer spend by 2020," commented David Sidebottom, Principal Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "Many countries including the USA, UK, Germany and Japan, witnessed healthy growth of around 5% in 2015, with only a few key countries reporting a decline. However, all markets remain significantly lower than at their peak in the early 2000's."

Whilst most streamed music consumption worldwide is still free, consumer spend from streaming music subscriptions reached almost $5 billion in 2015, growth of almost 70% year-on-year. With over 60 million on-demand streaming music subscribers worldwide, such services are steadily becoming more established. 

Although the shift to streaming music subscription is a global phenomenon, the variance of this rate of change is significant by country. Approaching 70% of consumer spend on music in the USA is digital and almost 85% in Sweden. However, in other developed markets such as Germany and Japan, packaged music, namely CD, still dominates, accounting for approximately 70% of spend in these countries.

Futuresource Consulting highlights a number of key drivers that have helped overall market recovery and the shift to streaming, with hardware and devices a key contributing factor, along with streaming service evolution and infrastructure improvements. Smartphone growth has brought streaming music to the masses, whilst the relationship between streaming service uptake and wireless audio is increasingly evident. The wireless audio market is set to exceed 90% of the 100 million total audio hardware sales in 2016 globally. Indeed, data included in the report from Futuresource's recent Living with Digital consumer survey suggests that wireless speaker owners are 2.5 times more likely to pay for a music streaming service than the overall population.


Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments. 

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