The Recording Industry Association of America has revealed that streaming music sales surpassed digital downloads as the recording industry's single biggest source of revenue last year. According to a report from the association, streaming generated $2.4 billion in 2015 and contributed 34.3% of overall sales.
One of the key factors behind this growth is the increased integration of streaming applications with social media platforms such as Facebook. For instance, the collaboration between Spotify and Facebook allows new Spotify users to access the application via Facebook and share custom playlists with their friends. A report on the global music streaming service projected the market to continue growing at a rate of 12.57% until 2019.
Streaming services like Spotify are overtaking digital stores like Apple's iTunes. Revenue from digital albums declined 5.2% in 2015, while sales of singles declined 12.8%. The digital music market had been expected to benefit from the rising penetration of mobile devices, but this hasn't been the case. Instead, streaming music services have become a global phenomenon in recent years. Many service providers offer online radio streaming services. The user can also download music and playlists directly to their devices for offline listening on the go without using the Internet. The mobile music streaming market is expected to grow 28.07% by 2019.
The RIAA say record labels are pushing services like Spotify to convert more free users to paid subscribers. Paid streaming services accounted for half of overall streaming sales, as the number of paid music subscriptions grew to 13 million by the end of 2015. A large proportion of Spotify users are still using the free service.
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