Kobalt Music Publishing, which represents and collects royalties for thousands of artists around the globe, says its clients in Europe collected 13 percent more revenue from Spotify than iTunes during the first quarter of this year.

While not representative of all artists in all markets, the data clearly illustrates the ongoing shift from digital downloads to the streaming model.

Kobalt CEO Willart Ahdritz agrees, pointing out that Spotify overtaking iTunes in Europe is an important new milestone in streaming. The music industry's infrastructure is failing them, the executive added, as it's unable to efficiently account for the enormous volumes of data from digital transactions.

The streaming model is popular among music listeners for its convenience, putting millions of songs within reach at the tap of a finger or the click of a mouse. And while pirated music isn't as big of a deal as it once was, streaming is putting money in the hands of labels and artists that may have otherwise gone unpaid.

Even still, streaming has been relatively slow to catch on as the music industry and artists have been reluctant to move away from a tried-and-true business model. Furthermore, some artists believe streaming providers don't pay enough to be worthwhile.

A timely example of this is Taylor Swift who removed her music from Spotify just yesterday. Regardless of whether or not you're a fan of her music, her stand against Spotify is a big deal in the industry but whether it's enough to convince the company to pay out higher royalties to artists remains to be seen.