In a recent talk given by Apple Music's Brian Rose at the BPI (British Phonographic Institute), Rose confirmed that 50% of the songs their platform streams are back catalog songs. This is an extraordinary but not unexpected figure. However, it does show that streaming networks are benefiting older music and the labels that owe the rights to this more than new music.
On the question of download's vs streaming subscriptions Rose stated streaming has overtaken downloads but this appears to be bottoming out. What is a more interesting question is, are music downloads down due to Apple's effort to direct users to their streaming service or due to users not wanting downloads?
Brian Rose is the UK & Ireland's Apple Music Country Manager and before that Managing Director at Universal Music's Commercial Division in London.
Could back catalog be the future for streaming platforms?
There's been discussion on windowing music on streaming networks for some time now but in the past year, this narrative has been dumbed down. Is this because streaming platforms and digital distributors don't care about individual artists but instead earn their growing revenues from the quantity of music they represent? This seems to be the case.
A recent study from Buzz Angle Music shows that 99% of all streaming comes from just 10% of the songs on Spotify which is a staggering figure. In total during 2017, there were 377 billion streams.
There is a big difference between music listeners and music fans and this clearly shows that Spotify is, on the whole, made up of radio listeners, and not music fans.
Music Aficionados are consumers that spend above average time and money with music. They represent just 17% of all consumers but a whopping 61% of all recorded music spending. These consumers shape the fortunes of the music business. – Mark Mulligan – Midia Research
In order for most artists to make money, they need to look far wider than streaming services, at least for their loyal followers who want to support their artist but have fewer and fewer ways to do this.