Music Listening Via Legal Streaming Services Holds At 46%, IFPI Finds

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LONDON — More people around the globe are listening to licensed music services than ever before, but piracy continues to have a harmful impact on creators’ careers, according to a new report from international trade body IFPI measuring global consumption and listening habits.  

IFPI’s “Engaging with Music 2022” study reveals that music consumers are spending on average 20.1 hours listening to music weekly, a 9% increase from 18.4 hours in 2021.

The London-based organization found that 46% of the 44,000-plus music fans it surveyed for the report listen to their favorite artists through a premium subscription streaming service such as Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music, either using their personal subscription or via a shared account. That number rises to 74% when ad-supported music streaming is factored in alongside paid subscriptions.  

Those streaming service numbers are slightly down from IFPI’s 2021 figures — when about 47% of respondents used a paid subscription service and 78% of people said they used either ad-supported or paid streaming – but IFPI says any decreases are the result of a change in accounting methodology, rather than a drop in real terms.   

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In this year’s report, the adoption of subscription streaming services is highest among younger listeners, with 54% of 16–24-year-olds and 56% of 25-34-year-olds surveyed saying they use subscription music platforms. Usage drops to 26% in the 55-64-year-old age bracket.  

The top five countries where people spent the most time listening to music through a subscription streaming service were Sweden (56% of people surveyed), the United Kingdom (52%), the U.S. (51%), Germany (51%) and Mexico (50%). (Overall, IFPI reports a 10% rise in time spent listening to music on paid streaming services compared to the prior year.)  

The IFPI report was compiled by surveying internet users aged 16-64 between June and September across 22 countries, including the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. Collectively, these markets accounted for more than 89% of global recorded music revenues in 2021, according to this year’s IFPI Global Music Report.       

Writing in the study’s foreword, IFPI chief executive Frances Moore says the report’s findings show “how music engagement is thriving, driven by new genres [and] new formats,” as well as the global value of music, “and the need to protect and support it.”  

Video-Based Music Consumption Dominates

Of those surveyed in the “Engaging with Music 2022” report, more than three-quarters say they consume music in multiple formats. On average, people use more than six different methods to engage with music, the most popular being video streaming, says IFPI. 

Of the people surveyed, 82% said they regularly consume music through video streaming services like YouTube. Audio streaming was the second most popular listening format, followed by radio listening, and then short-form video formats such as TikTok. Meanwhile, 32% of respondents said they had watched a music concert livestream in the last month with more than half (58%) having recently watched a music-focused TV show or film.  

Driven by the huge global popularity of TikTok, which says it has over one billion monthly active users, half of those surveyed said they use short-form video apps with 63% of respondents saying music is a key factor in choosing what content they consume on the platforms. South Africa and Mexico were the countries with the highest percentage of short-form video app users (both 78%), followed by Brazil (71%) and Argentina (66%), reports IFPI.  

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Pop was named as the most popular music genre globally, followed by rock, hip-hop/rap, dance/electronic, and Latin. When it comes to physical music, 12% of the people surveyed had bought a CD within a month of submitting their responses and 8% had purchased a vinyl record.  

Survey data from China and India is not included in the main report’s global figures because IFPI says the size of the countries would have a “considerable impact on the weighted average figures used.” The listening study contains separate reports looking at music consumption in China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria. Results from Indonesia and Nigeria were also not included in the global round up as they were included in the survey for the first time this year. 

In China, 96% of people surveyed use licensed music streaming services with 94% using short form video platforms. In India, 88% of respondents use music streaming services with 65% consuming short-form video.

Despite the growth in global music listening, the availability of unlicensed repertoire continues to pose a serious threat to the future health of the record industry, says IFPI. It found that almost one in three respondents (30%) admitted to using unauthorized or unlicensed methods to listen to or download music.  

Stream-ripping sites remain the most popular way for consumers to access copyright-infringing music, IFPI found, with 40% of 16-24-year-olds confessing to using them. Almost one in five people (17%) said they had used an unlicensed mobile app to illegally download music.     

Responding to its findings, Moore said IFPI will continue to fight against all forms of music piracy “to ensure that those seeking to profit from unlicensed and unauthorized music cannot threaten the vibrancy of a music ecosystem that is essential to artists and fans.”

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