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Streaming booms but CDs still lead in Germany

By | Published on Friday 20 January 2017

CDs! Vinyl! T-shirts! Who the hell is buying this stuff?

Take note everybody, this could be your last opportunity to exclaim “those crazy Germans and all their CD buying, what are they like!” Because you all like exclaiming that, right? I know you do. You xenophobic bastards.

While CD sales still accounted for more than half of the German record industry’s revenues last year, they were down to 53.7%, and will likely slip below the 50% point in 2017. But worry not, CD sales may continue to slip and slide, but streaming is booming, up 73.1% year on year.

Actually, with the vinyl revival pushing revenues from that format up 41% last year, and once you throw in some DVD sales and such like, physical product together still accounts for around 62% of the German record industry’s overall income. So, while the digital – by which we really mean streaming – revolution is now happening in Germany, many music fans there are still doing the physical thing.

Germany and Japan, of course, have been the major recorded music markets where physical has continued to dominate in recent years, while the US and UK saw a more rapid move over to digital, though the German and Japanese markets are still slowly following the global trend in the direction of subscription streams. And the impressive growth of the latter strand of recorded music helped the German record industry overall grow 2.4% last year.

All this is according to stats from local industry trade group BVMI, the boss of which, Florian Drücke, says: “The growth curve in 2016 might be slightly flatter than in the previous year, but it doesn’t take away from the current overall positive trend within the market. The streaming business was able to more than offset the decline in physical sales with a significant increase of 73%”.

He added: “It was once more that unique mix of digital and analogue that fuelled and shaped the German market – and ultimately made for a convincing year in the music business. Streaming has finally reached German consumers”.