Music to the ears of the industry: Over half of music streamers today use a paid-for service, up from a quarter in 2014

May 13, 2016

Paid for video and music subscriptions have certainly seen a surge in usage over the past two years, but it seems that it’s the music market that’s seen the highest amplification in consumer interest. New research from Mintel reveals that in the three months to December 2015 over half (54%) of music streamers paid to stream music, up from just one in four (24%) music streamers who did so in the 12 months to November 2014.

What’s more, whilst video subscribers were more likely than music subscribers to pay to use services in 2014, with one in three (32%) paying to stream video, it seems that consumers are now more likely to pay for music streaming subscriptions. Indeed, although still showing impressive growth in comparison to the 2014 subscriptions, paid for video subscriptions are today used by half (50%) of video streamers (compared to 54% of music streamers).

As a result of the booming usage, Mintel forecasts the UK music subscription streaming market will more than double to reach £786 million in 2020, up from a forecast £353 million in 2016. The UK video subscription market is also expected to record similarly impressive usage. The UK video subscription streaming market is set to hit £1.2 billion in 2020, up from a forecast £709 million in 2016.

Paid for video subscriptions are today used by 50% of video streamers

Rebecca McGrath, Research Analyst at Mintel, said:

“The growth in the number of paying music streamers over the last year reflects the impact of major new subscription-only music services entering the market, as well as increasing consumer comfort with using the subscription model to consume media. People are also being encouraged by the array of perks offered by paid-for streaming services, including ad-free content, offline streaming and exclusive content.”

And it seems that short of relying on one music or video streaming service, the vast majority of music and video lovers have a repertoire of online libraries. Over one in five (22%) of those who have used a music streaming service in the last three months* use four or more music streaming services. Furthermore, of those who have used video streaming services in the same time period, one in three (33%) use four or more services.

Going forward, Mintel research indicates that music streaming could look to video for notes of success, as three quarters (74%) of paying music subscribers are interested in adding video content to their paid-for music streaming service. Indeed, over one in five (22%) of those who pay for music streaming services say they would like video footage of performances to be included in their subscriptions. What’s more, one in six (15%) say they would like music related video content produced by the service, 10% would like reality TV programming and 8% would like non-music-related content produced by the service.

For video streaming services, it’s video content that really is king. Around three in four (73%) of those who use paid-for video streaming services say they’d be interested in watching recently released films, whilst three in five (60%) are interested in original TV shows produced by the service, and over a third (37%) are interested in watching original films produced by the service.

People may currently question the purpose of music streaming services including non-music-related content, but that could very easily change if there was to be a breakout House of Cards moment, with one popular series convincing many of the value of such content. Original content, such as Amazon’s The Grand Tour and Netflix’s Making a Murderer, has become a powerful selling point for video streaming services. Music streaming services, which are looking to distinguish themselves within an increasingly competitive marketplace, are beginning to similarly explore the option of adding exclusive video content.” Rebecca comments.

Finally, Mintel research reveals interest in ‘pay-per-tune’ music streaming content. Of those who have used music streaming services in the last three months, 20% would be interested in having a tiered subscription according to how many hours they can spend listening to the service, for example if it is cheaper if you spend less time on the service.

“With free music services facing increasing pressure regarding artist payment, a good way to encourage consumers reluctant to pay a subscription fee could be a lower-cost option based on time limits. This low-pressure ‘in-between’ option could encourage more consumers to make the leap to paying. If people enjoy the service they may then opt to upgrade their payment plan to get more hours of music.” Rebecca concludes.

*three months to December 2015

Press review copies of the Music and Video Streaming UK 2016 report and interviews with Research Analyst Rebecca McGrath are available on request from the press office.

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