Germany's Growing CD, Vinyl Market Bolstered by Digital Sales

According to the Federal Association of Music Industry (BVMI) in Berlin, Germans are still buying more CDs than other Europeans. Last year, CD purchases accounted for two-thirds of Germany's total music sales, which overall amounted to EUR 1.45 billion and registered a gain of 1.2 percent in 2013 after 15 years of decline.

"The Germans love music that they can touch with a physical CD," Dieter Gorny, chairman of BVMI, told Billboard. "That is why vinyl is experiencing a big comeback, with sales increasing 47.2 percent to a total of 29 million euros. Although 'black gold' currently only accounts for 2 percent of the total market, more and more record companies are releasing vinyl for passionate collectors and fans." Gorny attributes the boom in physical audio media to the fact that Germany still has a very dense network of over 4,000 retail outlets for recorded music. “CDs can be bought within a short space of time from anywhere in Germany; at the same time, the proportion of CDs ordered online is continuing to grow.”

In 2013, revenues from the digital music business grew by 11.7 percent to 328 million euros. This means that 22.6 percent of all music sales in Germany are now digitally generated. While the number of download buyers fell by one percent to 8.3 million in 2013, download revenues were stable overall, growing by 0.8 percent; in fact, digital sales, which make up 17.7 percent of total music revenues in Germany, compensated for country's 1.4 percent decline in CD sales from the year previous.

“Music streaming was one of the hot spots of 2013," said Dr. Florian Drücke, managing director BVMI in Berlin. Revenues from paid streaming subscriptions and ad-supported streaming services (Germany now has a total of 17 audio streaming providers) increased by 91.2 percent in all, to 68 million euros. These premium and freemium services are also the key revenue drivers in the streaming segment. Seen in the context of total revenues in Germany, streaming nearly doubled its market share from 2.5 percent in 2012 to 4.7 percent in 2013. “Its still minor significance in terms of revenue also reveals that streaming has not yet arrived in the German mainstream," added Drücke. "While streaming currently only makes up five percent of revenues in the German music market, its contribution should grow to 35 percent in 2018, bringing it significantly closer to international levels.”