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Has Amazon Already Figured Out the Future of the Music Streaming Business?

Record label executives in the United States could be forgiven for treating themselves this month. For a while now, fears have existed that audio streaming growth would start to slow in the U.S. If this tipping point happens — when this tipping point happens — it will be a concrete early sign of market maturity, and a portent for further commercial deceleration.

In 2019, though, the good times kept rolling. According to Alpha Data / BuzzAngle’s new annual report, audio streams in the U.S. last year amounted to 705.9 billion plays — up by 171.3 billion on the prior year, which in turn was up by 157.7 billion on 2017.

Those same Stateside execs, however, shouldn’t get too cocky. Because over the pond in another of the world’s biggest music markets — the United Kingdom — it’s a very different story. According to preliminary data from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), the annual increase in money spent by Brits on music streaming services in 2019 shrunk when compared to the prior year: In 2019, total U.K. streaming subscription payments were up by £190.9 million; in 2018, this figure was higher, at £210.1 million.

The CEO of ERA, Kim Bayley, sensibly noted

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