‘Free’ streaming income tumbles in Italy – yet music market grows 25%

The Italian recorded music market increased by 25% in value to €93.89 million in the first nine months of 2015 – despite trade income from ad-supported streaming services falling by double digits.

According to new figures released by Deloitte, revenues generated by ad-supported (‘free’) streaming services – such as YouTube and Spotify free – tumbled by 12% year-on-year to €8.28m in the period.

Income from subscription streaming platforms, however, essentially doubled: up 99% to €19.84m.

That meant streaming took 30% of the total recorded music market in the nine months, with €28.11m in total.

The figures are sure to kickstart yet more debate over two polarised points of view: (i) That ‘free’ streaming in all its forms is devaluing music and eroding music business revenues; (ii) That ‘free’ streaming is fuelling interest in and adoption of subscription services, thus future-proofing the music business against an inevitable shift in mainstream entertainment consumption habits.

Whichever is the more truthful statement, streaming’s income was some way behind that of physical sales in Italy in the nine months to end of Sept.

Physical music income grew 23% – largely thanks to local repertoire – to €50.72m in the period. In fact, physical sales took 54% of the overall nine-month Italian market, out-performing digital on 46%.


Vinyl album sales were up by 74% to reach an all-time high. The format now accounts for 4% of Italy’s total market (€3.6 million).

Despite many predicting the format’s demise, digital download revenues grew 3% year-on-year in Italy in the first nine months of 2015, to €15.06m.

According to the IFPI, Italy was the tenth biggest recorded music territory in 2014, generating US $235.2m (€215m) in the year.

The country is now on course to post its third year of successive growth in recorded music revenues, following a 4% rise in 2014.

[Pictured: Italy’s current No.1 single – like most places in the world – is Hello by Adele.]Music Business Worldwide

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