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Over 55s now driving streaming subscription boom in the UK

By | Published on Wednesday 6 May 2020

Entertainment Retailers Association

The Entertainment Retailers Association has published figures showing that it’s the over 55s who are driving the latest boom in sign-ups to paid-for music streaming services in the UK.

ERA estimates that more than 1.1 million British people over the age of 55 signed up for premium streaming in the year up to February 2020. This makes up more than a third of the 2.8 million people in total who took out new accounts in the same period.

It’s also means that there was a 90% increase in the number of older people moving to streaming in the last year, a growth rate that’s more than four times the rest of the population. People under the age of 34 still make up more than half of paid streamers, but ERA research shows that growth in this demographic is plateauing, so that overall growth is now more reliant on older consumers.

Around 2.3 million over 55s are now estimated to be paying for streaming accounts in the UK. The biggest age group paying to stream overall is 25-34 year olds, who account for 4.5 million subscribers, although growth in that demographic last year was just 10%. Overall growth across all demographics, meanwhile, was 18.5%.

“Over 55 year olds are the new battleground in the streaming market”, says ERA CEO Kim Bayley. “Previously streaming services have very much been regarded as something for music’s traditional younger fanbase. These numbers show that 24/7 access to all the music you could wish for is also attractive to older music fans”.

When it first properly pushed into streaming, Amazon made a big deal about how it was going after non-traditional streamers, rather than competing head-on with Spotify and Apple for those who were already paying to access musical streams.

ERA doesn’t break down its stats by service. Maybe Amazon has helped with the uptake among the over 55s. Though if sign-ups from older demographics are increasing across the board, it will be interesting to see if that affects the curation services the platforms offer.