A study over 2018 has revealed a shocking yet not surprising statistic: music download purchases have plummeted in the last 5 years, from 40% to 11%.

While it may seem unexpected that purchases have decreased so significantly, it seems to be on trend with streaming practices in 2018.

More and more services offer free or paid subscriptions to streaming services, which only allow listening of songs and albums, not direct ownership such as iTunes downloads.

Streaming accounts for 75% of total music industry revenue in the past year, growing over 30% every year. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, “streaming services added more than 1 million new subscriptions on average each month in 2018.” That’s a ton of new customers! The full study goes on to elaborate the fiscal differences in revenue.

While streaming seems to be steadily increasing, and in turn, iTunes downloads decreasing, CD and Vinyl continue to battle for relevancy, with sales also on the gradual decline in the past few years as well. The physical records decreased by only 23%, effectively edging out music downloads as the worst performer, only by a bit.

With more companies transitioning to subscription formats, what does the future of the economy hold for the music industry? Will streaming be outdone in the next decade like its former predecessors, or is it here to stay?

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