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Streaming ‘Finally’ Reaches CD-Loving Germany: 73 Percent Jump in Digital Helps Market Stay in the Black

The German music market grew by 2.4 percent in 2016, according to new figures released today by BVMI, Germany's music industry association.

The German music market grew by 2.4 percent in 2016, according to new figures released today by BVMI, Germany’s music industry association. With these figures, unveiled in Berlin, the local-based industry enjoyed growth rates for a fourth straight year. Across all formats, music sales (revenues valued at retail prices) added up to €1.58 billion, while audio streaming once again showed the highest growth rate (+73.1 percent) leading to a market share of 24.3 percent. Vinyl also gained considerably (+41 percent), thus further expanding its share from 3.2 to 4.5 percent.

The largest turnover is still generated by CDs: although CD sales declined by 9.6 percent compared to the previous year, they still have a market share of 53.7 percent. Downloads account for 12.3 percent of the market; they declined by 19.4 percent. In total, roughly 62 percent of sales were generated by physical products (CDs, vinyl, DVDs/Blu-rays) and 38 percent by digital music use (streaming and downloads).

“The growth curve in 2016 might be slightly flatter than in the previous year, but it doesn’t take away from the current overall positive trend within the market,” said BVMI managing director Florian Drücke. “The streaming business was able to more than offset the decline in physical sales with a significant increase of 73 percent. It was once more that unique mix of digital and analogue that fuelled and shaped the German market – and ultimately made for a convincing year in the music business. Streaming has finally reached German consumers.”


Frank Briegmann, president & CEO of Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, told Billboard: “We chiefly owe this growth to the success of our artists. Digital forms of distribution and music content are cross-pollinating each other, jointly spurring the market. In addition, it was a wise decision not to put all our eggs in a single basket but to continue developing the physical formats to meet consumers’ preference for diversity. If it had not been for the enormous success of streaming, there would have been no growth. However, the same thing also applies to the relative stability of the CD. Our responsibility as a label is to shape the music market eco-system together with our partners in such a way that the individual preferences of artists and their fans are harmonized to optimum effect.”

Bernd Dopp, Chairman & CEO Warner Music Central Europe, told Billboard: “We are of course very pleased that the market grew for four years in a row. Especially the development of streaming gives reason for great optimism. Again we have relevantly contributed to this positive development of the market with an again two digit sales growth and see us clearly as winner of the year 2016. Against the background of our upcoming national and international releases we are furthermore looking very optimistic in the year 2017.”

The consumers’ demand for music made in Germany continued unabated. German artists like Helene Fischer, Andrea Berg, rock veteran Udo Lindenberg and Stereoact feat. Kerstin Ott were at the top of the official German Album Charts for 41 of 52 weeks. The charts included all genres like hip hop, pop, rock, classic, jazz and metal. International bestsellers were Alan Walker, Metallica, The Rolling Stones and Imany.