News August 17, 2016

How streaming is biting into online music buys in Australia

How streaming is biting into online music buys in Australia

The take-up of streaming by Australians inevitably hit the number of downloads in this market. New figures from Roy Morgan Research show to what extent.

In the 12 months to March 2016, 4.6% of Australians paid to download music, compared to 6.1% four years ago. At the same time, 1.1% paid to buy CDs online, compared to 2.1% in the 12 months to 2012.

Meanwhile, the proportion of Australians streaming music online in an average four weeks leaped to 19.7% this year from 10.3% in 2012. Streaming radio also showed growth, to 9.6% from 6.1%.

To put into perspective the drop in download and online CD sales, Roy Morgan supplied data for the skyrocketing take-up of online shopping by Australians. This year, 41.2% made at least at least one purchase via the internet in an average four-week period – up 31.6% from 2012.

While the popularity of online shopping continues to skyrocket in Australia, with 41.2% of Aussies 14+ making at least one purchase via the internet in an average four-week period (up from 31.6% in 2012), CDs and music downloads have not kept pace with this growth. In fact, both products have been on a downward trajectory over the past few years. 

However, the shrinking of the online music market is decelerated because of certain consumer groups. Those who are avid purchases of movie and TV downloads are ten times more likely to buy music downloads as well. Those who attend pop/rock concerts are more than twice as likely to buy downloads in an average four weeks. “An above-average proportion of those who stream music radio buy more downloads.”

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says: “Ever since CDs knocked vinyl from its perch back in the 1990s, the music publishing industry has been evolving at a vertiginous rate. While record stores still exist (and vinyl is making a comeback), online shopping changed the face of music retail just as it did many other retail categories.

“But now, things are changing once more. The online space remains as crucial as ever to our music consumption, but the advent of streaming – whether free (eg. radio station apps) or by subscription (eg. Apple Music) – has impacted sales of downloads and CDs.

“However, music downloads in particular still have some devoted buyers. People who buy other entertainment products online in an average four weeks are dramatically more likely to also purchase music downloads, representing an irresistible opportunity for internet retailers to cross-promote their products.”

The full study is here.

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