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U.S. Music Industry Revenue Growing at Rapid pace, Thanks to Paid Subscriptions

Posted by: , 16:15 AEST, Wed April 4, 2018

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Music industry revenue grows again, two years in a row, but RIAA still not happy with "gaps in core rights"
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Music industry revenue is growing again after a steady decline over the last two decades, largely thanks to digital music sales and subscription streaming.

Industry revenue peaked in 1999 during the heydays of compact discs, before declining dramatically over the next 17 years. The US music industry's main trade body, the RIAA, had blamed the rise of the Internet and online piracy as the cause of the decline. In recent years, legal alternatives such as iTunes and Spotify have increased in popularity, and for the last two years in a row, "U.S. music revenues grew materially" for the first time since 1999, according to the RIAA's latest report.

Streaming now accounts for 65% of the entire industry's revenue, with physical media sales down to 17%. Digital downloads accounted for 15% of total revenue.

Digital download revenue actually declined by nearly 25% from 2016 to 2017, but it was more than offset by the 43% increase in digital subscription and streaming revenue. This appears to show a transition towards a subscription based distribution model, after the industry spent the better part of the last two decades dealing with the transition from physical media to digital.

Physical media sales were down just 4%, showing the decline in sales appears to have slowed

Revenue for 2017 grew by 16.5 percent in the United States, with most of the revenue driven by an increase in paid subscription, now totalling 35 million, up 56% in just a year.

Despite the positive results, the RIAA, in their summary, still blamed "gaps in core rights" that continues to "distort the marketplace and deprive recording artists and songwriters of the royalties they deserve".

You can read the full report here.


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