Spotify royalties overtake iTunes earnings in Europe

Digital music sales fell for the first time during 2013, and that downward slide looks set to continue as streaming grows in popularity.

Spotify royalties have now overtaken iTunes earnings for the first time in Europe, according to new figures from Kobalt Music Publishing, which represents 6,000 songwriters including the likes of Paul McCartney, Lenny Kravitz and Dave Grohl. Kobalt reports that its clients’ European revenues from Spotify streams were 13% higher on average in the first quarter of 2014 than revenues from iTunes.

For comparison, in the third quarter of 2013, iTunes’ earnings were 32% higher than Spotify’s in Europe. As TechCrunch notes, iTunes music sales are down about 13% this year.

Kobalt is just one of many independent publishers, but it certainly appears that streaming services from Spotify to YouTube are generating more revenue for songwriters across the board. The company’s chief executive Willard Ahdritz believes that while the income songwriters get from any given fan may never reach its previous heights, “the trick is to add three times more users.”

Further underlining the increasing revenue opportunities of streaming models, Soundcloud has just announced a major deal with Warner Music ahead of its planned switch to a subscription model.