RadioandMusic
| 20 Feb 2020
Streaming services can increase physical sale: Study

MUMBAI: Music streaming has been criticised because it was felt that it hampered the physical sale of music. And this was despite people appreciating the immediacy and convenience of services like Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play to discover and enjoy a huge range of new music in this technology era. Yet, music lovers like to collect or own albums of the artists they admire.

British singer Adele’s decision not to release her album on any streaming services is an example that if the music is good, it will be sold out in any form. Her new album ‘25’ has become the first album to sell more than 5 million copies in US since her record album ‘21’ back in 2011.

However, a study conducted in UK on behalf of UK labels body BPI and the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), suggests that streaming services like Spotify and Apple music can increase sales, thanks to music lovers.

The study had a sample size of 1,000, which the researchers claim represented a broad sample of the UK adult population. A sample size of 200 multi-channel music consumers was included to ensure it as sufficiently robust for the survey. All the responders had online access.

The report revealed, in terms of individual popularity, radio turned out to be most popular mode for music consumption with a 35 percent share. Radio was followed by CD with a 20 percent share, and free-streaming with 19 percent share of total listening. At 2 percent, the most unpopular means of consumption amongst the total sample was vinyl.

In response to the statement “I stream to discover music and see what’s popular, but when I come across something I love, I like to buy it (on CD, vinyl or download)”, those aged 25-54 were the group most likely to agree it, followed by those aged 16-24. People aged 55+ were the least likely to agree.

About two thirds (64 percent) of the total sample were open to the idea of buying more CDs. Exclusive tracks was deemed to be the top thing to increase CD sales. Almost half (48 percent) of paying streamer/CD multi-channel listeners thought that might tempt them to buy more CDs.

43 percent of the total sample was open to the idea of buying more vinyl. Limited edition/availability was the feature, thought to be most likely to increase vinyl sales.

Half of the total sample purchased a CD album in the past 12 months. Over the same period 15 percent purchased a streaming subscription. 22 percent spent nothing at all on music-related products. The study revealed that after starting on a free version and then upgrading to a premium subscription was the route that most people took.

Looking at the net percentages combining spending for yourself and gifts given/received, there were some interesting differences by age. Those aged 16-24 were significantly more likely to be buying/gifting all of the items apart from CDs and vinyl.

People who listened to CDs and were also paying streaming subscribers were, compared to CD listeners without a paid streaming subscription, more likely to value having CDs for decorative purposes (76 percent vs 24 percent) and having a CD collection to show friends (68 percent vs 32 percent).

Paying streamers who also listened to vinyl were, compared to vinyl listeners without a paid streaming subscription, more likely to value things like buying vinyl to support artists, having/building a vinyl collection to show friends and having vinyl for decorative purposes.

Paying streamers who also listened to downloads were, compared to download listeners without a paid streaming subscription, more likely to value things like supporting artists (89 percent vs 70 percent) and having the digital image artwork (77 percent vs 43 percent).

Paying streamers were, compared to free streamers, more likely to value sound quality (91 percent vs 75 percent), being able to listen on different devices / in different locations (92 percent vs 61 percent) and creating playlists/collections to share with friends (77 percent vs 27 percent).

13 percent of paying streamers thought that the introduction of streaming had increased their spending on CDs. This figure was much lower for free streamers (5 percent).

19 percent of paying streamers thought that the introduction of streaming had increased their spending on vinyl. This figure was much lower for free streamers (4 percent).

37 percent of paying streamers thought that the introduction of streaming had increased their spending on downloads. This figure was much lower for free streamers (8 percent).

Multi-channeling

Two thirds of the total sample listened via streaming (free or paid) and either CD, vinyl or downloads. The most common multichannel scenarios were free streaming and CD listening (49 percent) and free streaming and downloads (44 percent). Males were, compared to females, more likely to be in the paid streaming multi-channel groups.

The age group most likely to be a multi-channel listener was the group aged 35-54 (80 percent). Many of these people were listening via free stream and CD. The Millennial generation (aged 16-34) were the group most likely to be in the paid streaming multi-channel groups and the free streaming and download group.

Just over a third of the total sample listened to music for three or more hours during a typical day. Males and those in younger age groups were more likely to say they listen for longer. Paying streaming multi-channel consumers generally listened for longer than free streamer multichannel consumers.

69 percent of all multi-channelers agreed with this statement, indicating that streaming to discover and buying what you love is a significant driver of music sales. It would appear that this was particularly true for paid streaming and vinyl listeners: 93 percent agreed with the statement.

Devices

The study also revealed that there was a significant disconnect between young people and older generations. Three quarters of those aged 16-24 were listening on a mobile/smartphone, compared to 47 percent of the total. Just 26 percent of 16-24 year olds were listening on a CD Player (Hi-Fi), compared to 56 percent of the total sample.