Music sales rise 4% in Spain during first half 2016

Digital market accounts for two thirds of the total market thanks to success of premium subscriptions

Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Duele el corazón’ is most played song this year

For the third year in a row, sales of recorded music in Spain experienced a slight recovery after the continuous losses of 2001 to 2013. The recording industry reached global sales of 73.5 million euros during first half of 2016, exceeding 4.1% the sales of 70.6 million accounted during same period of 2015. Streaming is the name of the game. Boom of no download digital consumption seems unstoppable and compensates for the also unceasing losses of sales of CDs.

The share of first half 2016 between digital and physical sales reached 54 percent in favor of online formats (ad-supported and subscription streaming, downloads, mobile tones), compared to 46 percent of traditional formats. There is a significant advantage, as the digital slot rises by 22.5 percentage points (from 38 to 46.7 million) while the physical share shrinks by 17.6 percent (from 32.5 million to only 26.8). Conclusion is overwhelming: digital sales already mean 63.5 percent, almost two thirds of total.


Great reception of streaming as the way to enjoy recorded music is behind the numbers, no shadow of doubt yet. As much as 40.1 million out of 46.7 million digital music turnover are for streaming, and only 5.5 for tracks or albums downloads (mobile products account for as little as one million euros).


Even under these circumstances, another factor is to be highlighted: subscription models of streaming platforms such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster Google Play or Apple Music (with monthly fees around 10 euros) are growing all the time, while income from ad-supported free streaming keep constant.


Value gap

Significant increase in the use of free streaming is not correlated to an increase in the revenues for musicians, composers and producers. In a key moment for music, just when fans are making choices more and more in favor of the digital market, users uploaded content platforms, as alternative to subscription models, represent a clear uncertainty for the immediate future.

The revenues they generate, mainly based on advertising, are low and are not adjusted to their greater consumption. Thus, a debate on the “value gap” has started to arise from the lack of clarity of intellectual property and electronic commerce legislation on these services. In last months, relevant artists and composers have started to take action before the European Commission, requesting European authorities to adopt measures on this regard. In their view, this lack of equitable income threatens the survival of the following generation of creators, the sustainability and diversity of their work and the growth of subscription digital services.

In the case of physical products, the setback does not seem to stop. Drop of over 17.5 percentage points means that Spaniards did hand over scarcely 26.8 million euros for the purchase of CD or vinyl. The re-emergence of vinyl format is not but a humble contribution within a specific niche, that of big fans that move among nostalgia, collections and beauty of a unique format. Diversification of recording offer has let to please big music fans, but in quantitative terms, it is streaming that is the present and the future.


First hits of the year

Interest generated by new releases published on Fridays is another important variable the reinforces the sector’s growth, especially if they got to become relevant hits. Again, Enrique Iglesias hit the preferences of his fans two seasons after his great success Bailando. This time, Duele el corazón, on a duet with Wisin, becomes by far the most streamed song in our country.

With the exception of Morat with Cómo te atreves, Matt Simons’ Catch and release and the no less euphoric Coldplay feat. Beyoncé’s Hymn for the weekend, representing pop, in general streams are dominated by most danceable sounds, preferred by Spanish fans when choosing music to play in their computers and digital devices. Cheap thrills (Sia), Hasta el amanecer (Nicky Jam), Alan Walker’ Faded, Mike Posner (I took a pill in Ibiza), Drake (One dance), Rihanna (Work, also featuring Drake), Lukas Graham (7 years), Juan Magán (Baila conmigo) and Jennifer López’s Ain’t no mama complete the list of songs that earned a double platinum award so far this year.

Regarding albums, three relevant releases of 2015 were still successful during first half 2016, reaching Top 1: Manuel Carrasco (Bailar el viento), Sweet California (Head for the Stars) and Adele’s 25. New releases have been most eclectic. A total of 13 albums have reached top 1 in charts, beginning with Blackstar, David Bowie’s extraordinary work published in January, only days before he passed away. National bands and artists dominate top positions: Mónica Naranjo (Lubna), Fangoria (Canciones para robots románticos), Love of Lesbian (El poeta Halley), Manel (Jo competeixo), Loquillo (Viento del este), Adrián (Lleno de vida), Bustamante (Amor de los dos), Antonio José, the romantic Andalusian with his hit Senti2, and Leiva, who topped the list the same week of the release of his album Monstruos.

The list of discs released in the first half of the year that reached Top 1 gets completed with Fifth Harmony (7/27), Ariana Grande (Dangerous woman) and the OST of Soy luna.


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