German streaming up by 40%
The number of audio streams in Germany in 2018 grew by over 40% year-on-year to a new all-time record high of 79.5 billion.

That’s according to preliminary year-end figures released on January 18th by German music industry association Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) for 2018 – a year in which the CD was relegated to the second most-popular format in the market for the first time since its launch nearly 36 years ago.

Although CD sales saw a 23% decline compared to 2017 there was still a total of 48.2m units sold last year.

The only country where physical music remains as buoyant as it is in Germany is Japan, where, according to IFPI stats, physical music sales represented as much as 73% of total record industry revenues as recently as 2016.

The third most popular format in Germany last year was downloads, with a total of 49m purchases, of which 7.5m were albums and 41.5m individual tracks.

Meanwhile, a total of 3m vinyl records were sold in Germany last year, a slight drop of 7%.

The physical music video format (DVD/Blu-ray) also made it into the Top 5 most-sold music formats, with 2.6m units purchased.

According to BVMI CEO Florian Drücke, premium accounts accounted for 86% of audio streams during the year.

Drücke has also weighed in on the digital copyright directive debate, calling digital licence revenues ‘the lifeblood of the industry’ and arguing that the the industry ‘needs support from politicians in the form of regulations which are fit for the modern age’.

Germany’s biggest streaming artist in 2018 was German hip-hop star Capital Bra (pictured), who recently signed a deal with Universal.

Another Universal signing, Helene Fischer was Germany’s biggest albums artist last year for the sixth year in a row.

Dr. Florian Drücke, CEO of the BVMI said: “Looking at the sales in the past year, we see a continued strong growth in the area of streaming. A particularly pleasing development is the trend in premium accounts which make up 86 per cent of the audio streams.

“Despite the well-known downward trends, the industry has ensured a strong market in physical products remains; it is well-known that aside from Japan, nowhere in the world are as many CDs sold as here in Germany. Downloads and vinyl also continued to form an important part of the format portfolio of labels and of fans in 2018.

Added Drücke: “The new streaming records set every year clearly demonstrate how massively the way music is consumed today is changing.

“Many younger fans can be found almost exclusively online. This change underlines how the earnings of artists and their partners will, in the short to medium term, have to be generated to a large extent from digital uses.

“Digital licence revenues have become the lifeblood of the industry. For this transition, the industry needs support from politicians in the form of regulations which are fit for the modern age.

“This leads directly to the topic of the value gap and the reform of EU copyright law, the likely final, decisive trialogue negotiations for which begin on Monday. On behalf of the industry, I call once more for all involved to think about the market conditions outlined and to take the appropriate legislative steps accordingly.

“Strengthen rightholders, hold online platforms accountable and thus create a level playing field in the digital environment. The required update will stimulate investment in cultural diversity.”Music Business Worldwide