Buying your favorite artist’s new album at a storefront is no longer the norm. New reports from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFIP) share that digital sales revenue is higher, globally, than physical sales revenue for the first time ever.
Digital revenue has been on the rise in recent years, and is expected to continue growing, with a 7% increase to $6.85 billion in 2014. Consequently, physical sales decreased 8% to $6.82 billion. With a host of digital platforms for music, such as streaming services like Spotify, YouTube’s Music Key, Jay Z’s TIDAL, and Apple’s Beats Music, physical music is no longer efficient for listeners. However, digital platforms are not that simple in terms of revenue. Downloads currently represent 52% of digital revenue, but the number of total downloads is dropping as streaming numbers are on the rise.
Physical sales are not totally dead, however. CDs still dominate the market in other countries like Japan, accounting for 78% of the music industry’s revenue, Germany, 70%, and France, 57%. Spotify’s country of origin, Sweden, conversely credits 92% of its music revenue to digital sales.
Based on these numbers, it’s safe to say that CDs will be no longer in the foreseeable future. Streaming and digital platforms may be better for listeners, but it’s possible that artists may end up suffering.