So this is big. According to music industry body the Recording Industry Association of America, streaming music scored more money in 2015 than album sales for the first time ever. So streaming is priority number one – above downloads and CD sales (shocking!)
So what we’re looking at is 34.3% of sales coming from streaming vs. 34% from downloads. Not a huge gulf between the two, but it’s a big deal – this is the first time you can conclusively say that major artists like Kanye West and Rihanna who are betting on streaming-first strategies are at least on the right track. Even if they’re going the Tidal route.
We knew that physical media like CDs is really only for collectors at this point, but this is a wakeup call for platforms like iTunes to start really putting their grunt behind streaming.
And we’re already feeling it. Rihanna’s “ANTI” hit number 1 on the Billboard charts after its initial Tidal debut – but it only got a relatively dismal 17,000 in sales to get there. There has never been a number one debut with lower numbers.
It’s the future, folks.
Image: Getty Images / Samir Hussein.