Streaming In Germany Grew By 40% in 2018, Offsetting Drops in CD and Vinyl Sales

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Berlin, Germany

Streaming in Germany grew by over 40 percent in 2018 with a record 79.5 billion streams, according to year-end figures from the German Music Association (BVMI). In line with consumption trends elsewhere, the number of CDs sold in the country fell to 48.2 million, a 23 percent drop compared to 2017, while vinyl sales totaled 3 million, a surprising 7 percent drop.

"Looking at the sales in the past year, we see a continued strong growth in the area of streaming," said Dr. Florian Drücke, CEO of the BVMI, who added that the physical music videos (DVD/Blu-Ray) also made the top 5  in terms of music formats, with 2.6 million units sold.

BVMI noted that premium subscribers of digital services accounted for 86 percent of all audio streams. Despite the downward trends, the industry believes a strong market remains for physical products in the country, the third biggest music market globally, after the U.S. and Japan, where CD sales also remain strong.  

"The new streaming records set every year clearly demonstrate how massively the way music is consumed today is changing," said Drücke. "Many younger fans can be found almost exclusively online. This change underlines how the earnings of artists and their partners will, in the short to medium term, have to be generated to a large extent from digital uses."

Drücke stressed that "digital license revenues have become the lifeblood of the industry. For this transition, the industry needs support from politicians in the form of regulations which are fit for the modern age. This leads directly to the topic of the value gap and the reform of EU copyright law, the likely final, decisive trialogue negotiations for which begin on Monday. On behalf of the industry, I call once more for all involved to think about the market conditions outlined and to take the appropriate legislative steps accordingly. Strengthen rightsholders, hold online platforms accountable and thus create a level playing field in the digital environment. The required update will stimulate investment in cultural diversity."