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“Streaming has made it fashionable to pay for music again”, proclaims ERA

By | Published on Tuesday 5 February 2019

Entertainment Retailers Association

The number of British people paying to stream is about to overtake those getting their music for free. So reckons the Entertainment Retailers Association, which has asked around a bit.

Every quarter, ERA asks a panel of 1500 of the sort of people who like to sign up for this sort of thing about their entertainment retail habits, including how they access streaming music. Back in 2016, free streaming was significantly more popular than paid. However, of those questioned in November last year, 21.5% said that they were getting it all for free, while 20.6% were handing over actual money.

Broken down, men on the whole are more likely to pay to stream than women, while people under 25 and over 45 are more likely to be still bloody freeloading. Though the ERA survey counts access to a family account paid for by someone else in its free user total, which may account for a portion of freeloading under 25s. Not sure what all those older people with lots of disposable income’s excuse is.

“Ten or fifteen years ago popular opinion had it that it was all over for the music business and people would no longer pay for music”, grins ERA CEO Kim Bailey. “These figures are a striking vindication of the innovation and investment of digital services”.

She goes on: “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”.

“Streaming has made it fashionable to pay for music again”, she concludes boldly.

Of course, what these figures also show is that almost 60% of people aren’t streaming any music at all. Not even a little bit. Which you could see as a great opportunity for the streaming market. Or a fantastic hint that the physical market will hold up and remain profitable for some time to come. Or, if you want to be pessimistic, an utter fucking disaster.