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DiMA report hails music streaming’s impact in the US


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The US-based Digital Media Association (DiMA) is the lobbying body for music streaming services from companies including Amazon, Apple, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube.

Its new ‘Streaming Forward‘ report – produced with consultancy firm Midia Research – thus focuses on the positive aspects of streaming’s impact on the US music industry.

Its data from 2019 notes that there were $10.3bn of streaming revenues in the US (“$28.2m per day generated for the music industry”) and that by the end of the year there were 87.2m streaming music subscriptions in the US and 99 million subscribers.

That’s an interesting number, hinting that around 11.9% of American music subscribers aren’t paying themselves – for example because they’re on family plans paid for by someone else in their household.

[Note, the ‘87.2m subscriptions’ figure is different from US industry body the RIAA’s official 2019 figure of 60.4m paid subscriptions. That’s because the RIAA’s stat was an average across the year, while DiMA’s is a year-end figure. DiMA’s report also offers a figure for the number of ad-supported music listeners in the US at the end of 2019: nearly 117 million.]

More talking points: 17% of US music streaming users search for song lyrics at least every month; 21% of US consumers listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, but that rises to more than 40% for music subscribers and smart speaker owners; 47% of US smart speaker owners pay for a music subscription compared to 21% of overall consumers; and there’s a forecast that US streaming revenues will grow from $11.7bn in 2020 to $17.8bn by 2026.

There are some obvious gaps: no mention of the appeal against the Copyright Royalty Board’s new songwriter royalty rates (all of DiMA’s members bar Apple appealed) for example. Recent complaints by musicians about streaming payouts are also swerved, with the emphasis on success stories like BTS, Tones and I and Lil Nas X.

Here’s a fun thing though: a separate infographic created by DiMA to illustrate ‘Who gets paid and how much?’ from US on-demand audio subscription revenues, breaking down how each $100 collected from consumers is divided up.

Not just in terms of the ‘$31 to the service and $69 to the rightsholders’ split, but beyond that too: how the $55.21 that goes to recording rightsholders and the $13.31 that goes to song [publishing] rightsholders is split between the various entities.

These can only ever be illustrative average figures: label, publishing and management deals vary so much after all.

But it’s very interesting to see the DSPs’ lobbying body putting an infographic out suggesting that of the $55.21 of recording royalties generated from $100 of subscription spending, labels get $43.54 (79%) while artists get $6.63 (12%). Quite the conversation starter…

Stuart Dredge

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