The market value attached to music streaming services made available to smartphone and tablet owners hit $12.8 billion last year, but more growth could be around the corner. 

Backed by fees from ongoing subscriptions and ad-funded playback, the estimated global worth of mobile music streaming is to reach $21.3 billion within the next five years, according to research from Strategy Analytics.

The group’s ‘Global Mobile Music Market Forecast’ details fast growth in both the demand for and supply of online music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer across the globe. Uptake has been particularly high in North America and Europe, while there is evidence of growing adoption in emerging markets like India and China.

Notes from the report said the success of legal streaming is alleviating some of the strain on the music industry as it copes with the decline in regular sales. 

Pay per play

Various reports have indicated that streaming services and their online music libraries are making it all the more easier for people to up their listening. 

A recent study from Edison Research and Triton Digital stated that an average music fan will spend 13 hours and 19 minutes listening to music per week, more than double the 6 hours and 31 minutes in 2009. 

The task for service providers has been to find effective and user-friendly ways of monetising this content, as each pay the artists a small amount in royalties in return for allowing their music to be played free of charge.

In addition to subscriptions, services like Spotify allow users to stream music for free, but this requires playback of advertisements in between their tracks. Findings from the Edison and Triton study showed that 75% of users considered this to be a fair ask for free audio. 

Furthermore, with Spotify’s US audience averaging 94 million listeners per week, marketers have been presented with another attractive option of reaching out to consumers online.

While user counts are typically higher in Western Europe and the US, Strategy Analytics advised onlookers to take note of adoption in Japan – the second-largest music market – which could provide new impetus for growth in mobile streaming services.