Streaming has taken over Australian music sales with ARIA now reporting 70% of all music sales coming from streaming in the past year.
Australian music sales revenues grew by 12.26% to $526 million in 2018. 71.4% of that revenue came from music subscription services such as Spotify, Apple and Google.
Actual music sales, (ie: physical releases including CD, vinyl etc) made up just 15%. While that is a staggeringly low figure it was a 15.2% increase on the previous year. (A physical sale is when a consumer actually hands over money for the ‘trophy’ instead of just listening to ‘the air’).
For example, there were 5,892,665 CD Albums sold in Australia in 2018. That means about 1 in 5 Australians bought ONE album over the entire year.
Vinyl sold 896,209 units in 2018, Music Video/DVD sold 245,686 units.
By comparison, digital albums (streaming) made $32,897,553. Subscription services generated $304,717,763 in revenue.
While we are seeing less and less music stores staying open over the decline, it is now starting to beg the question why major labels need offices all over the country (or indeed, in this country) when most of their revenue is now coming from a central database overseas. Without the physical disc and on-ground promo to manage, Australian record companies are quickly becoming music marketing companies. Signing, working and releasing local artists (A&R) has become less of a priority on the majors who now rely on signing independent labels who have already done the A&R heavy lifting as their stop-gap.
Regardless, ARIA is elated. Dan Rosen said in a statement, “The continued growth that we have seen in 2018 is strong recognition of the enduring creativity and resilience of our local industry.”
“This success comes from hard work and commitment to the ongoing investment in our local artists.”
“The opportunity for Australian artists to grow their careers on the global stage is immense. ARIA will continue to work with both Federal and State governments to establish the necessary policy settings to support and sustain our vibrant local music industry so we can ensure these unique Australian voices are heard around our country and around the world.”
ARIA Chairman Denis Handlin AO is equally thrilled with the revenue growth.
“We are delighted to announce that for the fourth consecutive year, there has been growth for the Australian recorded music business.”
“This result is a testament to the great music that is being produced by our outstanding local artists, as well as the tenacious approach that our local industry takes in marketing and delivering music from all around the world to fans across the country.”
“It is now more important than ever that Australia also has the right legal framework in place to protect and promote the work of our Australian artists to ensure artists are adequately remunerated for the use of their valuable recordings.”