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Paid-for streaming on course to overtake free services for the first time

Subscription streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Deezer and YouTube Music are winning the battle to persuade more people to pay to stream music than stream it for free, according to new figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA)
Already more males pay to stream (24.3%) rather than stream for free (23.9%), and more 25-34 year-olds also choose paid-for (34.9%) than free (27.9%). By a narrower margin the same is now also true for 35-44s and 45-54s (see below).
Overall more people stream for free (21.5%) rather than pay (20.6%), but current trends indicate a final victory for paid-for services could come later this year.
ERA CEO Kim Bayley said, “Ten or 15 years ago popular opinion had it that it was all over for the music business and people would no longer pay for music. These figures are a striking vindication of the innovation and investment of digital services.
The data comes from ERA’s authoritative entertainment survey which every quarter for the past five years has quizzed a panel of 1,500 people on how they consume music video and games, tracking changing service and format preferences.
Said Bayley, “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.”
The figures indicate that the next battleground for streaming services is female and older music fans.
“Paid-for streaming has clearly yet to reach its full potential,” said Bayley.

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