The music industry is dying, right? That’s what we’ve been hearing for many years and, frankly, it has not been unjustifiable fearmongering either. The music industry peaked in 1999, at least in terms of sales and money made from selling music. It’s hard to argue it creatively peaked in the year when Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5” was its second biggest hit. Since then, though, we’ve been hearing about the trials and tribulations related to trying to sell music, but apparently that seems to be changing. In the first half of 2016, music sales are up 8.4 percent to $3.4 billion, which is the best the music industry has done since, according to Recode, “the height of the CD era.”
It’s not CDs driving this surge, though. Sales of CDs have dropped 14 percent, and now only make up 20 percent of all music sales. It’s not digital downloads either, though. Those actually dropped 17 percent. So what is the reason the music industry seems to be finding some financial stability? The answer is paid subscription services. Apple Music, which didn’t exist last year, has 17 million subscribers, and Spotify, which has 40 million paid subscribers, are playing a big role in this influx of cash. With Pandora joining the paid subscription services game, these numbers will likely only climb.
So, if you want to know what to thank for the music industry being on the rise in 2016, thank the streaming wars.