One Little Problem With the Whole ‘Streaming Saved Sweden’ Thing…

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.

2 Responses

  1. Stu

    Isn’t the issue that it’s too early to tell? Spotify launched in Sweden first back in 2008, so the 2012 figures are four years in. Also, it has a strong ISP partner there.

    Would it be fairer to suggest that it’s the 2013 and 2014 sales figures in markets like France and the UK (and possibly 2014 / 2015 in the US) that will give serious proof whether streaming can turn around the sales slump?

    I’m not saying it will, but it feels early to be running with the negativity! Sweden could be an outlier, or it could be a sign of what’s to come, but I don’t think anyone really knows which yet.

  2. Visitor

    One little problem. In Sweden streaming did not eat downloads, or maybe just a little. Just ook at the graph again.

    Streaming grew as an additional source of revenue on top of paid downloads. That may happen in the US as well.

    DMN just assumes streams will stop everyone from donwloading, but that will probably never happen. Some people like to own stuff and there is nothing wrong with that I guess.