26 Sep 2015

Streamed music set to overtake other formats

3:39 pm on 26 September 2015

Streaming music online is predicted to be the main way New Zealanders buy and listen to music in 2015.

computer screen

Photo: 123RF

Recorded Music New Zealand, an advocacy and licensing organisation for musicians, said last year streaming accounted for almost one in four sales (24 percent) up from three percent in 2012.

Its chief executive officer Damian Vaughan said this year streaming was expected to become the number one source of revenue for recording artists and record companies for the first time ever.

He said in terms of sales and consumption of music the country had gone through many transitions in the last decade.

Mr Vaughan said 10 to 15 years ago people primarily purchased physical products such as CDs and DVDs.

Downloaded music then experienced an upsurge about five years ago and within the last three years people have starting accessing streaming platforms.

"Streaming has really come into its own and grown," said Mr Vaughan.

He said growth in all streaming sites, such as Spotify and Pandora, would continue this year.

"They're all out there and becoming household names in how people consume music."

Mr Vaughn said the download market had also experienced a decrease over the past two years as people discovered streaming.

"In a general sense New Zealanders are technically savvy and quick adaptors."

However, he said the music industry was still viable.

"What it means is that no longer will people be making bits of plastic as often as they would and trying to sell units of those, but the art of making music and making it available to your fans as they want to consume it is still up to the artist, but that hasn't changed, it's just the distribution method of it."

One Wellington music store owner said people streamed music to get an idea of what they wanted to buy.

Rough Peel Music's owner Paul Higgins has been in the music store business since the late '90s. He said streaming music sites were not a death knell for music stores.

"It's a pretty hard environment to be in anyway, but in some respects streaming will hurt us, but I think the people who stream and don't buy product would've been doing that anyway in maybe more of an illegal way."

Mr Higgins said he was not surprised that more and more people were using streamed music.

"It's just another convenience. It's the nature of music now days that it's evolving into this sort of thing."

One of the largest surviving music retailers, The Warehouse, reports their music sales have not seen a massive impact from music streaming sites, but the company says it is watching with interest to see what the market does.

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