The digital music industry - additional information
The rise of the internet in the past two decades has dramatically changed the music industry on many levels, including how music is produced and distributed, how artists are discovered and promoted, as well as what exactly generates profit. One of the more positive aspects of music in the internet era is perhaps the existence of platforms such as YouTube or Sound Cloud, where unknown artist can be discovered and ultimately achieve commercial success, such as pop idol - Justin Bieber. He was only 12, when a producer found his profile by accident and brought him to international fame in only a few years. The major drawback of the digital world is the high rate of illegal music downloads, which have marred the industry on a global level, as well as the low costs of legal downloads, as compared to physical recording. As of 2014, the industry has witnessed a significant drop in sales of CDs, CSs, LPs and digital albums, from 500 million units in 2007 to 257 million units in 2014 in the United States alone.
Many consider that the increase in popularity of legal digital downloads cannot make up for the loss, as digital music prices do not include manufacturing and transport costs, which further hurts musicians and labels. As of 2014, the U.S. music market has witnessed a growth of the digital share of music revenues from 2.9 percent to 71 percent. With some 37 million music tracks available as of June 2015, Apple’s iTunes Store is presently the largest music retailer in the world. At the time of its launch in 2003, it revolutionized the industry with its payable downloads, but the market is moving more and more to another type of digital consumption: streaming. Platforms such as Spotify, Pandora or Deezer offer limited free access to music, which is supported by ads, and subscription-based access to an almost unlimited number of popular tracks. As of June 2015, Spotify had 75 million monthly active users around the world, up from only 15 million two years prior. According to a recent forecast, digital music streaming is the fastest growing sector of the music industry, while physical recorded music is expected to experience a negative growth rate between 2013 and 2018.