Watch out for some lazy ‘Spotify overtakes iTunes’ headlines this morning: the story is more specific than that, but still interesting.
Publisher and label services firm Kobalt is the source, having announced that in Europe, Spotify revenues for its songwriters were 13% greater than their iTunes revenues in the first quarter of 2014. A big swing from Q3 2013 when its writers’ European iTunes publishing income was 32% higher than Spotify, and Q4 2013 when the gap was 8%.
The obvious response is to ask whether this is more about a sharp decline in iTunes payouts to songwriters – remember those recent reports of a 13%-14% global dip in iTunes sales – than streaming going gangbusters.
However, Kobalt says that over the three quarters (Q3 2013 to Q1 2014) its combined iTunes and Spotify publishing revenues in Europe rose 5%. Another obvious question: how will these numbers have evolved in the second and third quarters of 2014? Publishing being what it is, we’ll have to wait a bit for those figures.
Kobalt also said this morning that globally, streaming revenues for its writers have tripled over the last two years, from 3% of their income in Q4 2011 to 10% in Q2 2014.
We’ll be unpicking the layers to this story over the coming days, with Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz keynoting the Web Summit conference in Dublin this Thursday, so stay tuned.