CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Music

Streaming music is going to officially take over the world this year

Streaming already makes nearly half of the money for recorded music worldwide.

spotify-gaming-soundtracks.jpg

Spotify is the world's biggest streaming music service by users. 

CNET

Sometime this year, streaming music should achieve actual world domination. 

Streaming music, especially paid subscriptions, last year once again fueled the recording industry's global growth, lifting worldwide revenue 9.7 percent to $19.1 billion in 2018, according to the music industry's worldwide trade group Tuesday. That's the fourth straight year of increase. 

Of all categories, streaming grew most, jumping 34 percent to more than $8.93 billion and making up 47 percent of all of the world's revenue for recorded music, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or IFPI, said.  

And 2019 is sure to erase those last three percentage points to make streaming the majority: Streaming's share jumped nine points from a year earlier. Unless streaming's popularity slams into a wall -- and projections from Spotify, the biggest streaming service by subscribers, suggest that isn't likely to happen -- streaming should become the world's dominant way of listening to music by sales this year.

Now playing: Watch this: 'Alexa, play Apple Music'
1:23

Paid subscriptions, in fact, were the biggest slice of streaming sales, making up 32.9 percent of global revenue, IFPI said.  

The data emphasize the meteoric popularity of music streaming, which in just a few years has overtaken digital downloads as the music industry's main business model. It has also led to a larger cultural shift in consumers' relationship with their music -- rather than buying music outright, as we did in the era of CDs and digital downloads, we're increasingly paying monthly fees for all-you-can-access tunes on services like Spotify or Apple Music, or listening for free by sitting through advertising on sites like YouTube.

At first, that shift triggered backlash among some labels and artists, but the recording industry's resistance has morphed into an embrace of the format as it fueled the best music sales in a decade.

That growth hasn't washed away all the music industry's lingering trauma, though. As Stu Bergen, the international business executive for major label Warner Music Group, said during IFPI's discussion of the new stats: The latest growth "means that these events are a little bit more pleasurable than the decade-plus of decline."