STREAMING WARS: MUSIC REVENUE UP & THE TRILLION-DOLLAR TV BATTLE
AppleMagazine|March 06, 2020
With 79% of music industry revenue coming from streaming and digital sales at an all-time low, it’s clear the future of entertainment is via subscriptions.

But in a world where everything is rented, questions must be asked over budgets, and the evolution of content consumption.

THE NEXT BIG THING

When Apple announced the launch of its dedicated music subscription service in June 2015, many pondered whether the end of iTunes was in sight. Though consumers were favoring services like Spotify over buying songs individually, it appeared that Apple would always hold a flag for its ailing music and video store, which generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Fast-forward five years and the landscape couldn’t be more different, with iTunes all-but-removed from macOS and the iTunes Store no longer the powerhouse it once was, with Apple aggressively pushing its successors - dedicated Apple Music, Apple Books, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV applications - instead.

A new report from the Recording Industry Association of America sheds further light on the situation, showing that streaming services are in control, with digital sales hitting their lowest point since 2006, signaling a shift in the way consumers purchase and consume content. In 2019, revenue from streaming music grew by a quarter, generating more than $11.1 billion across the year, with paid streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music accounting for $6.8 billion of that revenue. The rest comes from adsupported services like YouTube and Spotify’s free music tier, which has remained a popular choice amongst Gen Z.

As well as revenue, subscriber numbers across the United States grew an impressive 29% as more people make the switch from free tiers to premium streaming services, growing from 46.9 million to 60.4 million across the year. At the same time, physical sales of music fell by their biggest percentage to date, and account for just 10% of the overall market, though vinyl has grown for the 14th consecutive year as people continue to revive the format, generating $500 million as a result. In fact, vinyl overtook CD sales for the first time since 1986 in 2019.

But perhaps the most interesting piece of data is music downloads, which account for just 8% of all music sales. When iTunes launched in 2003, it offered just 200,000 songs for sale, but that catalog grew significantly in the decade that followed. It was Apple’s 99-cent songs that caused music executives to claim the company was stripping the value out of music, with artists upset that users could purchase individual tracks rather than be forced to purchase and listen to a whole album. But its buy-to-own mantra was popular, and following the launch of the iPod and iPhone, users were paying billions for their music.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM APPLEMAGAZINEView All

Q&A: BITCOIN'S MASSIVE RISE AND WHAT COMES NEXT

The digital currency Bitcoin rocketed to a record high last week above $40,000 a coin.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

VOLKSWAGEN TRIPLES ELECTRIC CAR SALES AHEAD OF CLIMATE RULES

Europe’s push into electric cars is gathering speed — despite the pandemic.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

UK INVESTIGATES GOOGLE'S PLAN TO REVAMP CHROME BROWSER

Britain’s competition watchdog said it launched an investigation into Google’s plan to overhaul its ad data system over worries it could leave even less room for rivals in the online ad industry.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

RACE ON: THE LINEUP FOR THE REVOLUTION OF THE CAR INDUSTRY

Wherever you are in the world, it’s hard to deny that 2020 was a challenging year - not least the automotive sector. With car sales plummeting amidst stay-at-home orders, consumers had a chance to reflect on their environmental impact, and as a result, electric vehicles are now more desirable than ever.

6 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

SOME UBER, LYFT DRIVERS SUE OVER CALIFORNIA BALLOT MEASURE

Drivers for app-based ride-hailing and delivery services filed a lawsuit to overturn a California ballot initiative that makes them independent contractors instead of employees eligible for benefits and job protections.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

TARGET CONTINUES TO THRIVE IN WHIRLWIND RETAIL ENVIRONMENT

Target’s strong sales streak extended through a pandemic-shrouded holiday season after a hard push online and an increased effort to provide alternatives to customers who are trying to minimize risk.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

TIKTOK TIGHTENS PRIVACY FEATURES FOR YOUNGER USERS

A month after federal regulators ordered it to disclose how its practices affect children and teenagers, TikTok is tightening its privacy practices for the under-18 crowd.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

NEW MERCEDES SCREEN TO STRETCH NEARLY FULL WIDTH OF CAR

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a key interior component of its upcoming electric luxury sedan: a large, curved screen that sweeps across almost the entire width of the car in the place of a conventional dashboard.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

ELECTRIC TRUCK MAKER HITS 100,000 ORDERS AHEAD OF FALL START

An upstart electric vehicle maker said that it now has more than 100,000 orders for its new pickup truck.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

CHINA'S GEELY, BAIDU ANNOUNCE ELECTRIC CAR VENTURES

Chinese automaker Geely says it will form an electric car venture with tech giant Baidu, adding to a flurry of corporate tie-ups in the industry to share soaring technology development costs.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481
RELATED STORIES

SPOTIFY'S PODCAST POWER PLAY

The company is staking its future on converting music listeners to podcast fans and has become the favorite to own the industry—for better or worse

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 18, 2021

ATHLEISURE LIST: EQUIPMENT + STREAMING CITYROW

Founded by Helaine Knapp,'s CITY ROW Signature-class format combines rowing intervals with strength training for a total body HIIT-style workout.

1 min read
Athleisure Mag
December 2020

STM ChargeTree 3–in–1 wireless charger

Space–conscious wireless charging

2 mins read
Mac Life
January 2021

YOU: PRO NEW GENERATION POWERS UP YOUR TECH

As iPhone and iPad sales begin to fall, Apple is focusing its attention on professional users, introducing a bunch of new hardware to compete in an increasingly crowded - but lucrative - market. With the launch of Pro Mode for macOS, the company could be onto a winner…

7 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

BACK TO SCHOOL: RETURNING TO THE CLASSROOM SAFELY

Five months on from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and policymakers and public health officials have decided it’s time to return to the classroom. Around the world, schools and colleges are preparing for a new semester, and though environments may be different, one thing is clear: teachers and students will be depending on technology more than ever.

6 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

Apple unveils new iPad Pro with trackpad support

APPLE TAKES THE iPAD PRO TO THE NEXT LEVEL

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

SEARCH: APPLE COULD RIVAL GOOGLE WITH NEW INDEXING SERVICE

As antitrust battles continue to dominate Silicon Valley, Apple is using its initiative, planning for a future where multibillion-dollar tie-ups aren’t acceptable. In a perhaps surprising move, the Cupertino company has reportedly begun ramping up efforts to launch its own search engine tech to rival that of Google’s, a course of action that could change the face of search.

7 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

REMOTE WORKING: VIRUS ENCOURAGES BUSINESSES TO THINK DIFFERENTLY

With the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak forcing governments to close schools, sporting events, communal spaces and more, businesses are taking the situation into their own hands, encouraging their staff to work from home.

6 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

2021: PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES

With the introduction of a 5G iPhone, a superfast M1 chip for the Mac, a bunch of hardware like AirPods Max, Apple Watch SE, and HomePod mini, and significant investments in its services division, Apple had a stellar year in 2020. But the future is just around the corner, and even greater innovations await.

7 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

PRESERVE YOUR SANITY BY PRESERVING FOOD

Canning is a hedge against uncertainty, an education in self-reliance, and a pocket of calm amid tumult.

3 mins read
Reason magazine
February 2021