There is no doubt that music streaming is on the ascendant. Each day, more people sign up for a service like Spotify, Google Play Music, Apple Music, Tidal or any of a half-dozen other services. And while the back-end technology should be able to deliver super-granular results about how people are consuming music, it’s apparently not that easy.
This article from the Globe and Mail explains the problem.
Canadians streamed twice as many songs on any day in 2017 than they downloaded over the whole year. Or did they?
That ratio is what BuzzAngle Music, which has pulled data from a growing number of music services and retailers since 2015, says in a report that will be issued this week. But Nielsen Music – a standard-bearer whose SoundScan revolutionized accurate music-data collection in the 1990s – released its own report on Canadians’ music consumption on Thursday, which suggested the ratio wasn’t quite so astounding.
The overarching narrative in both reports is the same: Canadian consumers are seizing onto music-streaming services such as Spotify more than ever, and buying less physical and digital music. But their differences tell a separate story that is often grumbled about within the music industry: As consumers shift from buying music (both downloading and in-store) to paying for access (streaming), calculating music “consumption” is an imperfect science that can still have consequences for how businesses makes decisions.