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German music listeners streamed 107bn tracks in 2019


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We saw some 2019 music-consumption stats from the UK’s BPI earlier this month, with 25.6% year-on-year growth in the number of tracks (114bn) streamed by British listeners. Now German industry-body BVMI has put out its own numbers, revealing that the number of audio streams in Germany grew by 34.5% to 107bn in 2019. The ‘audio’ aspect is important in both cases: both the BPI nor BVMI make a point of excluding video streams (i.e. YouTube) from these totals.

“This is not just a milestone: you can also see the continued considerable dynamism in this area and thus the acceptance among music fans,” said BVMI boss Florian Drücke in a statement. “Within just two years, since 2017, music streams have almost doubled.” Meanwhile, GfK MD Mathias Giloth reported that on Christmas Eve alone Germans streamed 431m audio tracks, which he compared to the start of 2019, when daily streams were sometimes less than 250m, to illustrate the growth.

Streaming is booming in Germany in terms of volumes, then, but for now it’s unclear what that growth will mean for German industry revenues for 2019 as a whole. In the first half of last year, recorded music revenues there were up by 7.9% year-on-year, which BVMI noted was the highest growth rate since 1993. Within that, audio-streaming revenues grew by 27.7%, and accounted for 56.4% of overall industry revenues. That suggests the full-year revenue figures, when they come – usually in early March – will be positive.

In our country profile on Germany last March, Drücke told us that there were around nine million premium music-streaming subscribers in Germany, but suggested that there was “definitive room for improvement, so let’s double it”. He also denied that labels’ desire to protect CD sales in Germany was hampering the growth of streaming. “The German music industry has always been very sensitive to the fans’ demands and this was supporting the strong format diversity,” he said. “It is very likely the CDs will keep going down during the next couple of years. Still, over here many people very much value it.”

Even so, as this week’s figures make clear, Germany is finally experiencing the boom in streams (and almost certainly revenues) that other big music markets have been for a few years. If fellow big-four market (and streaming laggard) Japan can achieve similar progress over the coming months, the global industry really will be motoring in this new era.

Eamonn Forde

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