Sep 1, 2020


Articles & Insights

DiMA - Digital Media Association Annual Music Report



This year’s edition of “Stream-ing Forward” reveals just how fundamental streaming has become to the music industry. Its dominant contribution to recorded music revenues underpins a continued revo-lution in the way in which we discover and listen to music. While traditional media such as radio still plays an import-ant role, streaming is now center stage—from a listener hearing a new track on an au-dio playlist, to a fan learning the words to a song with a lyrics feature, to hearing about their favourite artist’s music inspirations on a podcast.

Streaming has taken what was once a disjointed user journey and consolidated it into a set of unified user experiences. Now that the U.S. streaming market is beginning to reach maturi-ty, revenue growth rates will start to moderate, but streaming’s impact on the culture, market-ing, discovery, and consumption of music is only just getting going.

When this report was written, the industry was getting started on what promised to be an-other year of strong growth and development. Then along came Covid-19 and suddenly business-as-usual got turned on its head. As I write this, there are early, promising signs that the global pandemic may be beginning to slow. Regardless, the transition from lockdown to normality is going to be a winding path of a journey with the live sector of the music industry most impacted. With consumers spending more time at home, usage patterns have changed for all media and while music streaming experienced an initial dip, consump-tion not only recovered but was underpinned by shifts such as more smart speaker listening, and of course the rise of live streamed concerts. With live music in its enforced hiatus, stream-ing in all its forms acquired a new importance for artists and their fanbases.

When the dust finally settles on 2020, we will be looking at a music business that has been changed by Covid-19. Some of these changes will be in passing, but some, such as new behaviour patterns, will become long-term market attributes. Many of these shifts, such as more streaming at home, are in fact previously emerging trends that have been catalysed by stay-at-home measures. There will be many lockdown legacies, but one that is looking increasingly likely is that streaming’s role in the music industry will become both wider and deeper.

Mark Mulligan,
Managing Director, MIDiA Research

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