Kanye West wasn’t joking when he tweeted that he’s done releasing any more CDs and will move forward with online streaming only.
His latest album, “The Life of Pablo,” was exclusively available on Jay-Z’s streaming service Tidal, which is co-owned by West, when it first launched in February. A single from the album was eventually released on other streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music on Monday, but West hasn’t released it as a physical album.
West’s decision may partly have to do with the way people consume music these days. As this chart from Statista shows, streaming is the only form of distribution that saw revenue increases over the past 3 years. Both downloads and physical albums saw their revenues shrink every year in the same period. On top of that, 2015 was the first year streaming became the largest source of income for the recording industry.
Perhaps that explains why everyone’s trying to jump into the on-demand music streaming sector. SoundCloud just launched its own subscription streaming service, while Pandora also said it wants to get in this space as quickly as possible.