Music sales up for the third year

NEW YORK • Music-label honchos are hearing better news as sales grew at a robust pace last year for a third straight year in the United States, with listeners flocking to streaming outlets.

Analytical firm BuzzAngle Music said consumption in the world's largest market jumped 12.8 per cent, outpacing the 4.2 per cent growth in 2016.

On-demand streaming services led by Spotify are quickly replacing downloads on platforms such as iTunes, which shook up the music business a generation ago.

BuzzAngle found that nearly three times as many songs were streamed on an average 2017 day in the US - 1.67 billion - than the 563.7 million tracks that were downloaded over the entire year.

Audio streaming grew overall by more than 50 per cent last year from the previous year. BuzzAngle said 80 per cent of audio streams came through subscription sites.

The growth reflects a reversal of the long rut in music sales following the rise of the Internet.

But many artists complain that they see little of the profit. Wixen Music Publishing, which owns rights to songs by artists such as Neil Young and The Doors, last week filed a suit against Spotify, saying the Swedish company failed to seek proper licences to build a catalogue of 30 million songs.

While sales of full albums kept dropping last year, there was one big exception - vinyl, which posted a 20 per cent expansion, keeping up the revival of the classic format that has been embraced anew by hardcore fans and collectors.

Sales of cassettes - which have also found a renewed following, in part for kitsch appeal - more than doubled last year.

But at fewer than 100,000 copies, the format remains tiny in the overall market. 

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2018, with the headline 'Music sales up for the third year'. Print Edition | Subscribe