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IFPI Consumer Report: Licensed Audio Streaming Up 8%, but YouTube Value Gap Remains

Streaming continues to grow, but YouTube’s “value gap” remains the biggest thorn in the music industry’s side: Those are the major findings in the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) 2017 Music Consumer Insight Report, issued today. While it repeats some of the findings in the organization’s annual report issued earlier this year, the study specifically examines how fans are engaging with recorded music in 13 of the leading markets.  (For the full report, go here.)

Globally, 45% of consumers are listening through a licensed audio streaming service, up from 37% last year.

Video streaming makes up 55% of all listening, with 46% of that total on YouTube (for the IFPI’s take on problems with YouTube’s supremacy, see their 2016 report). Of the remaining 45%, 23% comes from paid audio streaming and 22% from free audio streaming. 96% of all internet users consume at least some licensed music, even as 40% of consumers still access unlicensed music.

Some 90% of paid audio streamers listen to music on their smartphone. A total of 85% of 13-15-year-olds are streaming music either through audio or video sources.

Mexico (75%) and Sweden (66%) lead the way in terms of licensed audio streaming engagement, with the U.S. (48%) in the middle of the pack just behind Spain and ahead of France.

Over the past six months, 44% of internet users have purchased either a CD (32%), download (28%) or vinyl (17%), while 45% use audio streaming services (39% free, 27% paid).

75% use video streaming services to listen to music, while 87% listen to music on the radio (68% terrestrial radio, 35% internet radio).

In terms of time spent listening to licensed music sources during a week, 40% use radio, 22% purchased music, 20% streamed video and 18% streamed audio.

On the down side, copyright infringement is still a serious issue, with 35% of all users stream-ripping (up from 30% in 2016), that total rising to 53% among 16-to-24-year-olds.

IFPI CEO Frances Moore cites record companies and their partners for “an enormous amount of work to license over 40 million tracks to hundreds of digital services around the world.” Still, she also cautioned about the “ongoing challenges,” including the “value gap,” a “mismatch between the value that user upload services [like] YouTube extract from music and the revenue returned to those who invest in and create it.”

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