Overall, physical sales have declined while digital sales have increased. Most recently, streaming music has increased while ownership of digital downloads has declined.
The early adopters and influencers in music have been streaming music since Spotify entered the US market in 2011. Some of us have been streaming via Spotify in Europe since earlier than that… The world saw this coming–Europe and Asia have been streaming on the cell phones for ages!
It’s important to deliver your product to your fans in the ways they prefer to receive it. If they want CDs, sell them CDs. If they want to stream it, have your music available at ALL of the streaming services. If they want to download your music from a paid provider like iTunes, then you need to have your music there, too.
My clients have had great experiences with TuneCore (tracks must be sample free, and if you feature established artists, you better have signed clearances from their labels) and with Empire. Both offer 80/20 splits. Neither advance funds. But if you’re seeking a distribution deal, you’re already savvy enough to understand how this works, AND you have the proper funding and knowledge to market and promote your music yourself.
*Shout out to The New York Times for creating one of the best charts to date to visually explain music sales for the past decade!