The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) released its report of 2013 sales and revenue today. (PDF here.) The main bullet point is that streaming is the fastest-growing segment of the recorded-music industry, and its revenue contributes to keeping the industry stable.
“In 2013, strong growth in streaming revenues contributed to a US music industry that was stable overall at $7 billion for the fourth consecutive year.” –Joshua P. Friedlander, VP, Strategic Data Analysis, RIAA
Streaming has contributed a continually escalating percentage of total revenue since 2007. That trend has accelerated since 2011, when streaming revenue accounted for 9% of total revenue. In 2012 it was 15%, and last year streaming pitched in 21% of earnings for recorded music. That amounts to $1.4-billion in 2013, an increase of 39% over 2012.
The RIAA reports that paid music subscriptions grew 57% year-over-year. The report counts 6.1-million subscribers (on average) during 2013 to services such as Spotify and Pandora — both of those examples also offer free listening, whereas some platforms (e.g. Rhapsody, Beats Music, Google All Access) are subscription-only. Revenue to labels and artists from subscription payments amounted to $628-million, up 57% in 2013. Royalty payments resulting from ad-supported free listening came to $220-million, representing a 29% gain.
Album sales were mixed in 2013, depending on format. Download albums grew 1.1% from the previous year, while physical albums (CDs and vinyl) dropped 12%. Within the physical category, vinyl is the growth portion, increasing 33% year-over-year, but remaining small at $211-million in revenue. Looking at the singles market, downloaded single tracks dropped 4.5% in 2013.