Growth of streaming keeps U.S. recorded-music market stable (RIAA report)

RIAA chart 300wThe 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.

Brad Hill

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