Streaming Music Earns More Money Than Downloads


For the first time in music history, streaming music has earned more money than any other form of selling music. In the United States alone it generated 2.4 billion in income last year, almost a third of all music sales. The whole music industry made 7 billion dollars in income in 2015. It is the first time the music industry has seen a rise in sales since 2011.

While 2015 turned out to be the best year yet for streaming music services, digital downloads and the sales of CDs are steadily going down. CDs dropped 10% last year and only accounted for 2 billion dollars in total sales.

The recent numbers show that music fans are willing pay for streaming services or listen to ad-supported music platforms. Youtube and Spotify are the biggest players in the streaming music business.  They paid 3 billion dollars each for the rights to stream music. Spotify, the leading streaming service, has almost 30 million paying subscribers around the world. However, many still listen for free.



While the Beatles made their switch to streaming music a short time ago, some artists, for example, Taylor Swift and Adele have not allowed their  music be streamed on such services.



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  • account for = make up
  • ad-supported = here: you can listen for free but between songs there are ads and commercials you must listen to
  • artist = singer
  • billion = a thousand million
  • digital download = you can pay to download a music file and play it on your computer, CD player or mobile phone
  • generate = produce, make
  • paying subscriber = a person pays a monthly or yearly fee for the right to listen to as much music as they want
  • recent = latest, newest
  • rights = here: to be allowed to stream music over the Internet
  • rise = to go up
  • switch = change