Paid music streaming in the UK looks set to overtake free services for the first time later this year. Subscription streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer and YouTube Music are winning the battle to persuade more people to pay to stream music according to new figures released by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).
Already more males pay to stream (24.3%) than streaming for free (23.9%), and more 25-34 year-olds also choose paid-for (34.9%) than free (27.9%). By a narrower margin, the same is now also true for 35-44s and 45-54s (see below).
Overall more people (21.5%) stream for free than paying for music (20.6%), but current trends indicate a final victory for paid-for services could come later this year.
ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “Ten or 15 years ago popular opinion had it that it was all over for the music business and people would no longer pay for music. These figures are a striking vindication of the innovation and investment of digital services.”
According to the report, in November 2018, 57.1 % of under 25s paid for music streaming platforms, compared to 45.7% who use it for free.
This was also true for older age groups, more 25-44 year-olds and 35-44 year-olds are paying to stream music.
For 45-55 year-olds and the over 55s this was not the case, with the latter seeing more than twice as many people access services for free.
Across all age categories, the number of users paying for streaming increased when compared to the same period last year, while free users declined in all age brackets under 45.
“What is all the more remarkable is that the likes of Spotify and YouTube also offer fantastic free services, funded by advertising. These figures suggest that music fans increasingly believe that the added features offered by paid-for services, and the curation which enables them to navigate literally millions of tracks, are definitely worth the money.” Bayley added
The ERA’s quarterly survey of 1500 people, which seeks to track shifts in how people purchase and access music, video and games, has found that the total number of people paying for streaming services could soon overtake those accessing the platforms for free.