As Spotify and Taylor Swift continue their ongoing and public dispute over her music, new information has come from Europe about royalties from Spotify and Apple’s iTunes. Kobalt, a music publisher, says its clients earned more royalties from Spotify than iTunes in Europe in Q1 of 2014. In fact, Kobalt, which represents more than 6,000 artists and songwriters, says revenues from Spotify in the first quarter of 2014 were, on average, 13 percent higher than revenues from iTunes downloads in the continent.

This was a significant change for Kobalt, as they received higher royalties from iTunes than Spotify in the third and fourth quarter of 2013, according to Hypebot. The gap, however, had been closing from 32 percent in the third to eight percent in the fourth quarter of last year. This is all because more people are streaming music and many fewer are buying it. It is an important moment, as Kobalt CEO Willart Ahdritz tells TechCrunch:

Spotify overtaking iTunes in Europe is an important new milestone in streaming. The music industry’s infrastructure is failing them, unable to efficiently account for the enormous volumes of data from digital transactions.

The report adds that Kobalt—which boasts of a roster that includes Prince, Skrillex and Kid Cudi, among others—has seen a significant increase in streaming revenues, noting that they’ve tripled over the last couple of years. Kobalt also says streaming accounts for 10% of all European publishing income for its artists as of 2014’s second quarter. Want a comparison? That number was 4% about two years ago.

This news, mixed with Apple’s iTunes sales figures taking a dip recently, only adds to an ongoing discussion about how music is consumed today and how it benefits artists around the globe.


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