The digital music industry has been gaining momentum over the last decade thanks to the consolidation and growth of a wide range of digital platforms for accessing and playing digital music, such as streaming services, downloads, digital media players, to name a few. As a result of this shift in music consumption, digital music accounted for half of the all the revenue generated by the music industry in 2015. Digital music revenue amounted to a total of 6.7 billion U.S. dollars that year. By far, the U.S. is the most profitable market for the digital music industry worldwide.
Within the U.S. digital music market, streaming and downloading are two of the most popular digital formats amongst digital music listeners. There were 72.8 million streaming users in the U.S. in 2015, whereas the number of people who uses download to access digital music stood at 42 million that year. Streaming is expected to take over as the main source for digital music in the country. By 2021, the number of streaming users is projected to increase to about 119 million. In line with the growth in number of users, revenue from streaming services is forecast to rise, and become the most profitable digital music format in the U.S. by 2016 already. Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music – Apple’s music streaming service which has the largest music track base in the market – Spotify, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SoundCloud and Tidal are a few examples of streaming services offered in the U.S. Pandora is particularly popular amongst young listeners; nearly 50 percent of people aged from 12 to 24 stated using this service.
Americans were estimated to spend monthly about 6.7 billion hours with digital music in 2016. Amongst the most popular music genres in the country, dance/electronic music, r&b/hip-hop and Latin music are more likely to be consumed on streaming services other than on physical albums. Streaming albums accounted for 45 percent of all r&b/hip-hop music consumption in the U.S. in 2015, whereas 73 percent of Latin music was consumed via streaming. In terms of devices, Americans use computer speakers the most to listen to music; about 55 percent of them stated using this device for listening to music. Using headphones on a portable device, such a smartphone or music player for instance, is also a popular way to listen music in the U.S.
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