The UK’s Entertainment Retailers Association has predicted that the British music industry will see a new tipping point later this year: the moment when the number of paying music subscribers overtakes the number of free music-streamers.
ERA’s latest survey from November 2018 found that 20.6% of Brits currently pay for a music-streaming service, compared to 21.5% who listen for free. That compares to 18.3% and 21.7% respectively in November 2017, so the direction of travel looks good for the next figures in November 2019. In fact, the percentage of Brits who pay to stream is already more than free listeners for the under-25, 25-44 and 35-44 age groups, according to ERA’s numbers.
Importantly, ERA counts people with a family account paid for by someone else as ‘free’ listeners – so the popularity of family plans isn’t inflating the paid figures. “These figures are a striking vindication of the innovation and investment of digital services,” said ERA CEO Kim Bayley. “Streaming has made it fashionable to pay for music again.”