Warner Music Earned More Revenue From Streaming Services Than Downloads in Q2 2015

iTunes-RadioApple's upcoming revamped music service may be coming at the perfect time, right as revenue from streaming music is beginning to surpass revenue from digital downloads.

Streaming music services have been growing in popularity over the last several years, and in an earnings call today (via Re/code), Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper told investors that for the first time, the company earned more revenue from streaming music services than from digital downloads.

Warner Music Group saw a 33 percent increase in its revenue from streaming music services from companies like Spotify and YouTube during the second quarter of 2015, while revenue from digital downloads like those from iTunes grew only seven percent. During the call, Cooper said that the growth of streaming music makes it "abundantly clear" that in the future, "streaming will be the way that most people enjoy music."

"We experienced significant revenue growth this quarter across key segments of our business -- in particular Recorded Music, across the U.S. and international and across digital and physical -- capping off a strong first half of our fiscal year" said Stephen Cooper, Warner Music Group's CEO. "Notably, in this quarter we saw continued growth in streaming revenue which surpassed download revenue for the first time in the history of our recorded music business. Our commitment to being at the forefront of industry change as well as our ongoing investment in artist development is the foundation of our continued success."

Warner Music Group says that it expects streaming growth will continue, and it believes that declines in download revenue will be "a continuing trend." Apple too has seen a stark decline in digital revenue in recent years, with sales dropping 5.7 percent in 2013 and further declining 13 percent worldwide in 2014.

A decline in iTunes music sales may have been one of the major factors that spurred Apple to purchase Beats Music, giving it a foothold in the streaming music market that it was late to enter. Apple has seen some criticism for its failure to embrace streaming music early on and the somewhat lukewarm reception of iTunes Radio.

Beats Music has failed to draw a significant number of customers away from Spotify, which has 60 million subscribers, of which 15 million pay for the premium service, but with more than 800 million credit cards on file, Apple's upcoming revamped streaming music service has the potential to overtake competing services.

Rumors have suggested that the new service will be similar to the existing Beats Music service, but with a focus on exclusive content and deep integration into iTunes and Apple's iOS Music app. It will be priced at $9.99 and no freemium tier will be offered, but Apple is looking at ways to offer music for free, through lengthy trial periods, iTunes Radio, and possibly a SoundCloud-like music sharing platform.

Apple is said to be planning to unveil its new music service in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

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Top Rated Comments

theheadguy Avatar
120 months ago
Que everyone that feels the need to let everyone know they would rather own their music.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneMadRssn Avatar
120 months ago
Que everyone that feels the need to let everyone know they would rather own their music.

It's not so much the owning, it's more the not paying in perpetuity.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Revearti Avatar
120 months ago
Que everyone that feels the need to let everyone know they would rather own their music.

Yup. I'm one of them.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Michael Scrip Avatar
120 months ago


Que everyone that feels the need to let everyone know they would rather own their music.
I think most people do own their music.

Spotify has 60 million active users and 15 million paying subscribers.

But that's tiny compared to the billion iOS and Android users.

It doesn't look like streaming is a big as everyone makes it out to be.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Revearti Avatar
120 months ago
I like buying music. I'll be doing it for a while. There is something about having it that I can't leave, yet.

For instance, I want to know the album I'm listening to now will be there in five or ten years for nostalgic purposes. I wish with all of our server farms, we would just leave media in the cloud forever without the worry that it may not be there one day due to a contract.

When it's accessible forever, I'll be more excited about embracing streaming as a replacement. Until then, I'll stick with being old fashioned. :)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
subjonas Avatar
120 months ago
I don't subscribe to streaming music for the same reason I don't subscribe to cable TV:
- it's continuous money down the drain with nothing to show for it
- most of the content is junk
- there are free ways to find new good quality content
- if there is something that is good quality, I can buy it once on physical media at the highest quality and never worry about it being unavailable, restricted, or taken away from me.

But that's just me.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)