Streaming music is now taking up the largest portion of the consumer marketplace.
If you're not part of the music streaming crowd in terms of consumption yet, it's probably time you give it some serious thought. As of last year, combined totals for services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and more have contributed to a 50 percent increase in usage, according to a new report from Variety.
In short, 2017 was a breakout year for streaming. The total number of music streams reached 377 billion, and it's not just those getting a free ride who are using the services anymore. Of that giant total, 80 percent of those listens came from subscribers, a massive increase over where those numbers were in 2016. Meanwhile, physical downloads ('memba those?) continue to fall down the rabbit hole to the point of near-invisibility. Both album and song sales saw a significant drop, by 14.6 percent and 23.2 percent respectively, a stat that was buoyed in particular by digital downloads.
Because of the nostalgic appeal of vinyl and now cassette tapes (what is this world coming to...), physical media haven't seen such a sharp decline. As a result, streaming versus digital downloads isn't close to being a fair fight anymore. Just to give you an idea, there were more than twice as many streams per day, on average, in 2017 as there were digital downloads during the entire year. Seriously: 1.67 billion to 563.7 million is that margin. This revelation shows that Apple's plan to discontinue digital downloads as early as next year, while shocking to some, is now an inevitability.
Which streaming service do you use on an occasional or regular basis? Why that one? Sound off in the comments.