IFPI: Older Listeners Migrating to Streaming at Fast Clip, While Piracy Remains 'Huge Concern' Overall

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The international trade body has released Music Listening 2019, its annual research study on listener habits across the globe.


— Older music fans are increasingly turning to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, according to a new report from international trade body IFPI measuring global consumption and listening habits.

IFPI's research reveals that the highest rate of growth for music streaming is among 35-64-year-olds, with more than half (54%) of that age group using a streaming service during the survey period (April-May 2019).

That's an 8% rise on the previous year, although it's worth noting that the early years of streaming were driven by early adopters and young consumers, so it is only to be expected that the age of users would rise as it becomes the dominant format.  

IFPI's Music Listening 2019 study also reports that consumption across all platforms continues to grow, with respondents typically spending 18 hours per week -- equating to 2.6 hours each day -- listening to music, up from 17.8 hours in 2018. 

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed say they love or fanatical about music, while that number increases to 63% among 16-24 year-olds. 

When it comes to streaming, 89% of people said they use paid and free on-demand services with 64% saying that they had used an audio streaming platform like Spotify, Amazon, Deezer or Apple Music in the past month, an increase of around 7% on the previous year.

Fifty-two percent of 16-24 year-olds surveyed are using paid streaming services; the highest of all age brackets. 

In line with previous year, YouTube remains the world's most popular music service with 77% saying they used the Google-owned platform to listen to music. 

Breaking down on-demand streaming consumption, video sites like YouTube command 47% of global music listening with paid audio streaming representing 37% and free audio streaming making up the remainder. 

Radio, however, remains the single most popular way to listen to music, accounting for a 29% share. Smartphones follow close behind with 27%. The top three listening activities globally are in the car (70%), relaxing at home (64%) and cooking or cleaning (51%). The most popular music genres worldwide are pop, followed by rock, oldies and hip-hop/rap.    

The report was compiled by surveying 34,000 internet users aged 16-64 across 21 countries, including the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. Collectively, these 21 markets accounted for more than 92% of global recorded music revenues in 2018, according to this year's IFPI Global Music Report. 

"This year's report tells a story of fans' ever-growing global engagement with music," says IFPI chief executive Frances Moore in the study's foreword. 

"At a time when multiple forms of media vie for fans' attention, they are not only choosing to spend more of their time listening to – and engaging with – music but they are doing so in increasingly diverse ways," says Moore, who also warned about the continued danger of piracy. 

Of those surveyed in the Music Listening 2019 report, 27% said they used unlicensed sources to listen to or download music with 23% admitting using stream ripping services. Doing so returns "nothing to those who create and invest in music, jeopardizing the health of the music ecosystem," said Moore. 

"Piracy does remain a huge concern," IFPI s director of insight and analysis David Price tells Billboard. He points to sustained legal action that IFPI has been taking against stream ripping services around the world to combat the threat.

"We've always said there are two major things you need to put a dent in piracy. One is to make it much harder to access those illegal services and the second is to make licensed access to music as easy as possible. In both of those areas," he says, "we're having a lot of success."