US Music Industry Sees Sizable Growth As Streaming Grabs Majority Share of Revenues

April 10, 2017

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Media & Entertainment

Retail revenues from recorded music in the US saw a healthy rise of 11.4% last year, the biggest gain in almost 20 years (since 1998), says the Recording Industry Association of American in a recently-released report [pdf]. The increase was powered by a doubling of paid streaming subscriptions, as revenues from streaming rose to a majority (51%) share of music industry revenues for the first time.

Nielsen had previously noted a similar trend, with the music industry growing as on-demand streaming grew to become the single largest consumption format for the first time.

In 2015, streaming had grown to becoming the single largest revenue format, but this past year marks the first time that it generated a majority of music industry revenues. In fact, its share of industry revenues has almost doubled (from 27% to 51%) in just 2 years.

The number of paid music subscriptions in the US average 22.6 million last year, per the report, more than doubling 2015’s 10.8 million and tripling 2014’s 7.7 million. As a result, revenues from paid subscriptions grew from $1.16B in 2015 to $2.5B last year.

Part of streaming’s growth to majority share of revenues also owes to declines in other formats, though. Digital download revenues dropped from $2.285B in 2015 to $1.783B last year. Physical sales, meanwhile, fell by 16% to $1.7 billion. Physical music products now occupy just 22% of the US recorded music market, down from 29% in 2015. Vinyl continues to be a bright point, with shipments up 4% to $430 million, comprising the higher share (26%) yet of physical shipments at retail value.

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