The rise and rise of streaming and changes in the UK music market

simon g

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The below is an interesting report on the changes in and current nature of the UK music market.

The tiny market for high res services is noteworthy, as is the dominance of Spotify. Most people obviously prefer simple streaming services listened to via phones, tablets, etc. This further confirms that the market for hifi separates boxes is becoming more and more niche. Prices will continue to rise rapidly as manufacturers attempt to maintain revenue in the face of declining unit sales.

Physical media was on a steep decline, but has rallied and seems stable/slightly rising

The market is dominated by just 3 labels; I hadn't realised that.

The report is definitely worth a read.




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https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...g-market-study-update-paper/executive-summary
 

Klassik

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The market is dominated by just 3 labels; I hadn't realised that.
The 'Big 3' are certainly power players in classical music, but not to the extent that they once were. Of course, Warner now has the EMI, Virgin, and Erato catalogs along with Teldec which has been under Warner for quite some time. Universal has Decca and Deutsche Grammophon and Sony is a major player as well. That said, Naxos and many smaller labels, including audiophile/SACD labels, sell quite well.

Presto Classical is perhaps the largest dealer of classical recordings in the UK and they release a top 25 most popular recordings list on their website each month. The report for July just came out. The four of the top 12 recordings, including no. 1 on the list, are SACD recordings from smaller labels (though the ranking also includes digital downloads sales so that must be considered). 😲

Now, granted, that might be a biased list. Perhaps the most popular classical recordings right now are really the ones being streamed on YouTube, Spotify, and such. Streaming is certainly popular with the classical listening crowd as well. Thus, perhaps Presto's list is biased towards the small group buying physical media and digital downloads. Still, Presto seems to do enough business to keep their operation afloat.

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/articles/4817--presto-chart-the-presto-chart-july-2022
 

Chumpchops

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It’s nothing surprising and it was no different in the vinyl heydays of the 70s and the CD market building in the 80s. A relatively small number of companies dominating the overall shipments pictures.

Barriers to entry are even higher these days given cost of infrastructure, virtual or otherwise, needed to deliver global streams. The margins are also minute, but these are offset by the mega volumes.

in the 70s 80s the smaller ‘indie’ labels could still maintain their independence by using the likes of CBS BMG for pressing and distribution, whilst maintaining their own publishing, AR, marketing, etc. Rough Trade operated this way.
 

karlsushi

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Also worth highlighting the point when talking about a small number of big companies dominating the market, from the perspective of the so-called smaller indie labels, even a tiny chunk of the global music sales market is worth taking. Global music sales hit nearly £20 billion last year.

Whatever people say about streaming, it has to be a good thing for smaller artists who have no need to sign up to a label any more. Just get your album on Bandcamp or create your own website and get free advertising by shoving it on social media and away you go.

When artists talk about streaming platforms not giving them a fair share of profits, what I think they are really experiencing is greater competition against a wider range of artists. My interpretation is that it is actually the smaller artists who are benefiting. But I may be wrong.
 

DomT

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Also worth highlighting the point when talking about a small number of big companies dominating the market, from the perspective of the so-called smaller indie labels, even a tiny chunk of the global music sales market is worth taking. Global music sales hit nearly £20 billion last year.

Whatever people say about streaming, it has to be a good thing for smaller artists who have no need to sign up to a label any more. Just get your album on Bandcamp or create your own website and get free advertising by shoving it on social media and away you go.

When artists talk about streaming platforms not giving them a fair share of profits, what I think they are really experiencing is greater competition against a wider range of artists. My interpretation is that it is actually the smaller artists who are benefiting. But I may be wrong.
The artist compensation has been discussed on here before. There are two basic problems. Bands with contracts pre streaming don’t get streaming income unless they can renegotiate. Streaming compensation rates are geared to the big earners and so the smaller artists get a smaller amount than they should.

In my case whilst I started streaming two years ago I haven’t gone near a streaming service in a long time and mostly listen to the CDs that I have rippers. I have been buying more CDs to rip and also downloading certain albums from Bandcamp (mostly stuff not available on streaming anyway).
 

simon g

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A significant take away from this for me is just how tiny the 'high quality' streaming services are in the market. Here we are, chasing down the nth last degree of SQ, whilst the general market just doesn't care, even if they're aware of 'better' services.

A decent quality home hifi used to be a goal of many for many decades. Now, with such easy access to so much music which can be enjoyed in a plethora of ways, most people consider music playback as 'done'.

Frankly, were I a teenager again just getting in to music in a serious way, I'm certain I'd be there with my iphone, decent set of phones and not have a single desire for anything more.
 

DUVET

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Its hard in threads like this not to make generalisations but here we go :) . Music to many , not us is all about access and on the move . To us music on the move is a compromise we live with till we get home and listen to it properly on our systems.
 
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DomT

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My sister used to be a concert level pianist and today is a piano teacher. She loves music, has heard my system, but is happy with Her Alexa because frankly despite her husband earning well that because they have two children there is just no money for HiFi.
 

StingRay

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A significant take away from this for me is just how tiny the 'high quality' streaming services are in the market. Here we are, chasing down the nth last degree of SQ, whilst the general market just doesn't care, even if they're aware of 'better' services.

A decent quality home hifi used to be a goal of many for many decades. Now, with such easy access to so much music which can be enjoyed in a plethora of ways, most people consider music playback as 'done'.

Frankly, were I a teenager again just getting in to music in a serious way, I'm certain I'd be there with my iphone, decent set of phones and not have a single desire for anything more.
When you see what they are playing is there any wonder they are not bothered about sound quality?

Just look at the most played artists on Spotify and then on Qobuz, Qobuz is completely different from Spotify.
 

awkwardbydesign

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Whatever people say about streaming, it has to be a good thing for smaller artists who have no need to sign up to a label any more. Just get your album on Bandcamp or create your own website and get free advertising by shoving it on social media and away you go.
I think it is downloads that make money for musicians on Bandcamp. That is where I mainly go for new music these days. I have loads of "old music" but rarely listen to it now.
 

StingRay

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I think it is downloads that make money for musicians on Bandcamp. That is where I mainly go for new music these days. I have loads of "old music" but rarely listen to it now.
Bandcamp is good, because more of the money goes to the artist, if you buy on first Friday of the month, Bandcamp waives it's fees as well. But many artists are not on there.
Streaming must reach a wider audience, I discovered lots of artists that I would not have without streaming, even went to a concert and bought the cd. The problem with streaming is the record companies are not passing on enough of the money, unless you are a big name who can demand more money.
 
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Brown Bottle

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Earlier this week I bought a pair of Cambridge Audio Wireless Melomania 1+ earbuds, £49.95. Connected to Spotify on my I-Phone they sound really, really good. I only bought them for a forthcoming holiday but I think they’ll get more use than that now. Bang per buck amazing value. I’m not surprised kids aren’t interested in Hi-Fi.

Cheers BB
 

Lee M

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Earlier this week I bought a pair of Cambridge Audio Wireless Melomania 1+ earbuds, £49.95. Connected to Spotify on my I-Phone they sound really, really good. I only bought them for a forthcoming holiday but I think they’ll get more use than that now. Bang per buck amazing value. I’m not surprised kids aren’t interested in Hi-Fi.

Cheers BB
I listen mostly via my Melomania and Samsung phone, Usually with one earbud whilst working. Do I need more, not really
 

t1no

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A lot of of people consume music through free video streaming services … mainly YouTube. What it may be lacking in sound quality is probably more than made up for in terms of price (free), interactivity and good music search. You only need a TV / computer / tablet / mobile phone.
 
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Chumpchops

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A significant take away from this for me is just how tiny the 'high quality' streaming services are in the market. Here we are, chasing down the nth last degree of SQ, whilst the general market just doesn't care, even if they're aware of 'better' services.

A decent quality home hifi used to be a goal of many for many decades. Now, with such easy access to so much music which can be enjoyed in a plethora of ways, most people consider music playback as 'done'.

Frankly, were I a teenager again just getting in to music in a serious way, I'm certain I'd be there with my iphone, decent set of phones and not have a single desire for anything more.
This. Chuck in a smart speaker, and the kids have everything they need. And, having a few smart speakers, the latest of which is a stereo pair of Sonos Roams, I can say that these new systems are every bit as good, maybe better in some areas, which which to enjoy sounds (or all res), as were the budget systems of my youth. For many that will be enough - you music, of choice, any time, any where.

Some of these kids will go on to invest more in ‘better’ but most will, just like folk settled on midi systems or music centres before them, be perfectly happy with their lot. Audiophiles have always been a tiny minority and that is not going to change. Not even the snake oil stuff (audiophile switches etc)
 

PaulH

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The reason why there is no rush go hi-res or flac is because of file sizes & bandwidth.
Once phone storage gets large enough to store loads of flac albums, and amount of mobile data on a contract is large enough for regular flac streaming, then it will happen.
We're currently at that cross roads of full HQ streaming.
It will happen, just not yet.
 

Chumpchops

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The reason why there is no rush go hi-res or flac is because of file sizes & bandwidth.
Once phone storage gets large enough to store loads of flac albums, and amount of mobile data on a contract is large enough for regular flac streaming, then it will happen.
We're currently at that cross roads of full HQ streaming.
It will happen, just not yet.
You might be missing the point in that hi res streaming is just that. No need to download to device, although that is an option for your offline library, if required. Any 128 or 256Gb phone can take a lot of FLACs.

i stream Qobuz FLACs in car with 4G no problems. 5G roll out will make this easier still.
 
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jumpmonkey

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The reason why there is no rush go hi-res or flac is because of file sizes & bandwidth.
Once phone storage gets large enough to store loads of flac albums, and amount of mobile data on a contract is large enough for regular flac streaming, then it will happen.
We're currently at that cross roads of full HQ streaming.
It will happen, just not yet.
The reason there’s no rush to hi-res or flac is because 256aac or 320mp3 is more than good enough for almost everyone. Surely we‘re already there with regards to mobile data? I stream Apple lossless in the car and have never used my data allowance, and the phone itself has an insane amount of storage.
 
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