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 2016 and amounted to a total of 7.8 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 an estimated 92.2 million streaming users in the U.S. in 2016, and the number of people who used downloads to access digital music stood at 39.3 million. 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.. Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SoundCloud and Tidal are a few examples of streaming services offered in the United States. Spotify is particularly popular amongst young listeners, as 38 percent of listeners aged 12 to 24 used this service in 2017.
Americans were estimated to spend monthly about 6.7 billion hours with digital music in 2016. Amongst the most popular music genres, dance/electronic music, r&b/hip-hop and Latin music were more likely to be consumed on streaming services rather than on physical albums. Streaming accounted for 48 percent of all r&b/hip-hop music consumption in the U.S. in 2016, whereas 55 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, is also a popular way to listen music in the U.S.
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