If streaming saved Sweden from a precipitous sales plunge, why isn’t the same thing happening in other countries? Here’s one reason: streaming just isn’t as big or important in other countries, and is less a percentage of broader digital consumption.
Which means that streaming’s ability to ‘save’ other markets is less certain. Here’s a graph presented by French industry trade group SNEP at Midem last week, showing streaming sales as a percentage of broader digital sales. SNEP just revealed a 4.4 percent music sales decline in France for 2012, despite the presence of a surging, Paris-based Deezer and a streaming subscriber total that now tops 500,000.
So the stream eventually eats the download, right? In Sweden, there’s a lot less eating to do, largely because the paid download never happened to the same extent. Consider the case of the iTunes Store, which debuted in the US in 2003 and just announced its 25 billionth song download (with a substantial percentage coming from the US).
On top of all that, it’s not clear that the download simply succumbs to cannibalization in countries like the US. Apple’s still king in the US, and it’s difficult to predict whether iTunes Match becomes a serious contender in the coming years. Match is much less of a threat in Sweden.
Written while listening to Bassnectar and Example.