In 2014 we undertook a project to record exactly how much money we spent on live music, including the cost of tickets, travel and other associated costs including merchandise. The end result was pretty staggering – we spent £3,661.17 (you can see the full break down of costs using this link here).
In 2015 we’ve been carrying out a similar project, finding out how much we spent on recorded music.
Now just to be clear, our music consumption probably isn’t typical of a member of the UK public; we just don’t buy 1 album a year (Adele) and nothing else.
But 2015 has been a year of transformation. Slowly but surely the lure of purchasing all music that we’re interested in in a physical form has begun to dwindle. Not fully, but now the use of streaming services (we mainly use Spotify premium and Soundcloud) has become our filter mechanism. No longer do we pre-order albums or rush to our local record store on the day of release to buy the album. Instead we log on to Spotify, listen for a few days or weeks before deciding if we want to add the record to our physical collection. Also our back catalogue listening has become ever more wide ranging. Streaming enables us to listen to virtually anything from the past. Hell, even The Beatles have given in, enabling a whole new generation of listeners to explore their albums in full.
However, there are 3 main reasons why we do still buy a physical form of the stuff we really like:
1 As a back-up copy, just in case in the future, streaming dies. Unlikely perhaps, but with its future not being 100% certain, we don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket quite yet. We still have horrible memories of selling our vinyl to ‘upgrade’ to CD when everyone was saying vinyl was obsolete. It really is true that hindsight is a wonderful thing .
2. Because we still like that old fashioned idea of investing in artists we like and buying their product on the basis that it may help them record something else in the future.
3. That geeky thing of wanting to collect something. Showing someone your Spotify playlist just isn’t as exciting as showing them your rather impressive CD collection.
But 2015 has been the year that we’ve really begun to rely on streaming and stopped buying albums we consider to be average or crap. It’s also the year we’ve (possibly) purchased our last ever download – after all what’s the point of buying something that doesn’t exist physically when you can get it anyway by streaming it? That download was Petite Meller’s Baby Love (our song of the year) and only because we wanted to help in get in the charts.
So what’s the net effect of this? We’re spending less on recorded music than ever before. Sorry music industry, sorry artists. But we’re pretty sure we’re not the only ones.
Here is the final breakdown, recorded from 1st January 2015 to 23rd December 2015 - in total we spent £617.84 on recorded music, this compares with the £ 3,661.17 we spent in total on going to gigs last year.
TOTAL MONEY SPENT ON RECORDED MUSIC IN 2015 : £ 617.84
Physical format (CD & Vinyl) £468
Streaming Services (Spotify Premium) £119.88
Downloads (Bandcamp) £26
Downloads (iTunes) £3.96
Independent record stores 29%
HMV stores 12%
Band’s Own Website 10%
Other Online Retailer 6%At Gigs 4%