The US recorded-music market enjoyed healthy growth in 2018, with retail revenues up by 12% to $9.8bn, while on the industry-revenues side, music subscription income grew by 32% to $5.4bn. It was the third straight year of double-digit growth overall for the world’s biggest music market, as the US averaged 50.2m paid subscriptions for the year. Cue champagne corks plus the obligatory serious-face promises not to get complacent.

How about 2019 though? Tech industry body the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has put out some predictions for US consumer tech sales this year, and they include a section on entertainment subscriptions. “On-demand music services including Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify will cross $8 billion in revenue, up 33% as increased adoption of products such as wireless earbuds and smart speakers drive more music subscriptions,” claimed its announcement.

To get specific: the CTA predicts that consumer spending (so this is a retail figure, not trade wholesale revenue) on subscription music-streaming services will grow from $6.33bn in 2018 to $8.41bn in 2019. It even throws in a 2020 forecast for good measure: $10.35bn that year, which would represent 23% growth from that 2019 estimate. We’re going to need more champagne and practice at making the serious faces, etc etc.

The CTA’s downbeat smart-speakers prediction may help with that: it expects 35.2m of these devices to be sold in the US in 2019, which would represent a mere 1% year-on-year increase. That’s a big contrast to VC firm Loup Ventures’ prediction in June that 72.5m smart speakers will be sold in the US this year, although it’s closer to research firm Canalys’ prediction in April that the US install-base will grow by around 30m this year.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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