Streaming services represent “nothing less than a revolution” in entertainment retail

Music subscription services accounted for over 62 per cent of music retail sales in 2018, representing “nothing less than a revolution in the entertainment business.”

According to the Entertainment Retailers Association’s (ERA) 2018 year book, published this week, paid for subscriptions for music grew 38 per cent last year to £829 million, leading physical retail sales to account for just 38 per cent of the total.

For the first time music joins both video and gaming as a majority access platform, with more people choosing to stream than to purchase.

“This is a significant moment,” the ERA’s chief executive Kim Bailey said.

“For the first time since the birth of the modern entertainment business in the late 1950s, more revenue is coming from payments for access rather than purchase in all three sectors – music, video and games. New digital services have created a “Generation Rent” for whom access models seem natural.”

The ability of industry leaders like Netflix, Amazon and Spotify to convert free users to paid subscribers has led to a dramatic shift in how entertainment is both sold and consumed.

Spend on access Spend on ownership Total % Rental % Ownership
Music £829.1 £505.8 £1,334.9 62.1% 37.9%
Video £1,469.2 £868.8 £2,338.0 62.8% 37.2%
Games £2,251.9 £1,612.0 £3,863.9 58.3% 41.7%

Source: ERA Yearbook

“Innovation and investment by digital services and retailers has literally proven a lifesaver for the video, games and music businesses, creating new business models and supporting jobs across the UK creative industries,” Bailey added.

Over 85 per cent of entertainment revenues in the UK now come via the internet, growing for the sixth consecutive year 9.4 per cent to £7.5 billion.

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