According to a forecast from Strategy Analytics, this year is shaping up to be all about Spotify and less about iTunes. That's because streaming music services (like Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio) are set to dwarf download services when it comes to revenues in the year 2012.
According to the Global Record Music forecast, streaming revenues will increase 40% this year. Download revenues are only set to increase by 8.5%. Basically, Spotify and Pandora are currently about five-times as profitable as iTunes and Google Play (percentage-wise, of course).
"Although downloads still account for nearly 80 per cent of online music revenues, this market is maturing and spending is flattening in all key territories. Streaming music services such as Spotify and Pandora will be the key growth drivers over the next five years as usage and spending grow rapidly," says Strategy Analytics' Ed Barton.
Streaming is going to crush downloads over the next few years, but when you team them up they still fall short of packaged sales. Overall digital sales are set to increase 17.8% to $8.6 billion, but still only hold a global share of 39%.
But Strategy Analytics predicts that will all change in 2015, when digital finally overtakes physical.
When streaming services were in their infancy, they just couldn't compete with the likes of iTunes in terms of selection. It's not that people feel they have to own their music, they just want to have access to everything they want to hear whenever they want to hear it. As services like Spotify are better able to provide that for $6-10 a month, people are naturally seeing the benefit in forgoing the $0.99 download.[h/t The Verge]