It may seem that nobody buys music anymore, opting for streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music instead, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is happy to pay the monthly fee for streaming. Nielsen’s 2015 End Of Year Music Report (available as a PDF) shows that nearly half of Americans don’t see the point of paying for a streaming service.
Nielsen surveyed 3,000 music listeners in the U.S. and asked them about their music habits. When asked how likely they were to subscribe to a music streaming service in the next six months, only nine percent said they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely.” 13 percent chose that they were “neither likely nor unlikely,” while 78 percent of those surveyed said that they were “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to subscribe.
The report looked at the top three reasons listeners were not likely to subscribe, the winning answer with 46 percent of those surveyed was “they are too expensive.” The runner up with 42 percent was “I can stream music for free,” while the last reason with 38 percent was “I won’t use the streaming service enough.”
This doesn’t exactly spell doom and gloom for music streaming services. On the whole, music streaming was up 83 percent from 2014, but much of this would likely be free or ad-supported streaming, given the other answers given. Strangely enough, as Consequence of Sound points out, of those who pay for streaming, “cost” was the top reason given for why they pay.
Streaming on the whole may be up from last year, but it seems that where people go to satisfy their streaming needs may be changing. Apple Music just reached 10 million subscriptions, and many are forecasting it could hit 20 million by the end of the year, setting it up to overtake Spotify, which had 20 million subscribers as of last summer.
For those who aren’t paying for streaming, that could get more difficult in the future. Last month we reported that Spotify might be looking to limit its users’ free streaming. With YouTube pushing YouTube Red and YouTube Music, it might soon be drying up as a source for free music as well.