Global Music Streams Topped One Trillion During the First Quarter Alone, Making 2023 ‘The Fastest Year Yet to Reach That Milestone’

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Global music streams reportedly surpassed the one trillion mark during 2023’s first three months alone. Photo Credit: Viktor Bystrov

Despite signs that streaming subscriber and revenue growth is leveling off, music-consumption volume continued to increase during 2023’s initial quarter, when global music streams reportedly cracked the one trillion mark.

The telling data point just recently came to light in a brief release from Luminate (formerly P-MRC Data). According to the company, worldwide on-demand audio streams (excluding video, it bears clarifying) topped one trillion on March 31st, thereby rendering 2023 “the fastest year yet to reach that milestone.”

For reference, the same source previously indicated that song streams had for all of 2022 risen by 22.6 percent year over year (YoY) to surpass 3.4 trillion. 1.1 trillion of these audio-only streams had derived from stateside listeners, signifying a 12.1 percent YoY boost, per the entity.

Keeping in mind the discrepancy between 2022’s global streaming-volume jump and the noted domestic expansion, it’s hardly a secret that emerging markets are playing an increasingly significant role in the contemporary music industry. In January, the IFPI touted the “first successful blocking action” targeting stream-rippers in India, having also spearheaded similar initiatives in Brazil.

The latter nation secured the ninth spot on the IFPI’s list of the largest music markets in the world for 2022, and the same organization communicated that 85.2 percent of Latin America’s revenue had stemmed from streaming on the year. Meanwhile, in MENA, which the IFPI last year declared the world’s fastest-growing music region, streaming accounted for 95.5 percent of revenue.

However, worldwide recorded revenue attributable to streaming subscriptions rose 10.3 percent YoY during 2022, according once again to the IFPI. The organization further disclosed a nine percent YoY bump in overall revenue (including digital, physical, sync, and more) and relayed that there had been 589 million “users of paid subscription accounts” at yearend, up from 523 million at 2021’s conclusion.

Recent quarterly performance reports from Spotify (which remains today’s leading streaming service notwithstanding considerable strides made by Apple Music and others) have reflected the heightened prevalence of developing markets. 2022’s fourth quarter brought six percent Rest of World user-share growth for the Stockholm-based platform – and an essentially flat subscribership distribution.

In spite of their buildouts, though, quick-expanding music markets are delivering relatively modest advert and subscriber revenue; Spotify costs less than $4 per month in Brazil at the present exchange rate, for instance, and about $5.30 per month in Saudi Arabia.

And it’s against this backdrop – in coordination with the abundance of new music that debuts on streaming services daily, the way royalty payments are calculated, and the emergence of paid-promotional options – that Universal Music Group says it’s developing “an innovative new economic model for music streaming.”

The Big Three label has thus far unveiled collaborations with Tidal and Deezer on the streaming-reform project, concrete details about which remain few and far between. But last week, Block’s Tidal officially added a “Live” music-sharing feature, touting the option as “a new way for fans to spontaneously share music.”