UK recorded music: Transition to access

5 September 2014

After a relatively benign year in 2013 for UK recorded music thanks to a small pickup in trade revenues, we project a 5% decline in 2014, with digital music purchasing now falling as consumers shift to ad-supported and subscription access services, while CD sales continue to drop at a double-digit pace each year.

The UK reached a new milestone at the end of 2013 surpassing 1.3 million paying subscribers, a large number of non-paying 'hard bundled' subscribers on Orange/Deezer and Vodafone/Spotify 4G plans, plus several million Spotify freemium and Spotify Free 'smart radio' users.

We project steady expenditure on recorded music as a whole in the period to 2017 from consumers and advertisers at £1.1 billion annually, but anticipate the loss of £90 million in trade revenues in the shift to access due to the labels' lower revenue-share.

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