The biggest income stream for Australian musicians in 2016 didn’t exist five years ago.

Data to be released on Wednesday reveals total sales of music in Australia, as measured by the Australian Recording Industry Association, lifted 5.5 per cent in 2016 to $352.2 million.

Revenue from streaming, including services like Spotify and Apple Music, surged 90 per cent in 2016 to $135.4 million, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of all music revenue in Australia. Spotify launched in Australia in May 2012 and Apple Music went live in 2015.

The overall rise in music revenue helped total music sales grow for the second year running.

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“Between, Spotify, Apple, Google and Pandora…a lot of consumers are voting with their wallets that it’s a service they want,” ARIA chief executive Dan Rosen told The Australian Financial Review.

“Which is really exciting, the industry is returning to a sustainable growth model, and streaming services are starting to deliver that growth.”

Led by the likes of Flume and Keith Urban, there were 20 number one albums from Australian artists on the ARIA charts in 2016 – a record for local artists.

Sales for CDs fell 21.1 per cent to $87.2 million but remained the third biggest revenue stream. The second largest was digital downloads, which came in at $105 million, down from $132.5 million in the previous year as users preferred streaming to downloading. Vinyl sales rose 70 per cent to $15.2 million.

“There will be always been a physical market, it’s still 30 per cent of the market, the local record store, some of the big chains is still a key part of the market,” Mr Rosen said.

“But, certainly the growth and excitement is on the digital side. The record business is a majority digital business.”

Mr Rosen said ARIA members sales growth showed there was light at the end of the tunnel for content creators in the digital world.

“If you get the business model right and you can ensure you are giving consumers good value,” he said.

“On the other hand we need to continue to innovate in the digital sphere and also protect out content in the digital marketplace.”

He said protecting copyright was a key point for artists and content makers.

“It’s a combination of three factors: number one we need to make it easier to do the right thing by investing in digital business models; two we need to make it harder for people to do the wrong thing; and three we need to educate people on these services.”

AUTHOR Max Mason