Streaming & Paid Subscriptions Rise In RIAA 2018 Music Industry Revenue Report


The RIAA’s year-end report revealed that vinyl sales are up from 2017

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released its annual year-end music industry revenue report. Revenues from recorded music in the retail sector reached $9.8 billion in 2018, which marks a 12% increase from 2017. Last year marked the third consecutive year of double-digit growth driven primarily by increased revenues from paid streaming subscription services.

The RIAA reports that 75% of the music industry’s total revenue was indebted to subscriptions to streaming services last year. In 2018, streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, and others reached more than 50 million subscriptions in the United States for the first time. Additionally, vinyl sales saw an increase of 8% from 2017, reaching the format’s highest revenue level since 1988. CD sales dropped 34%. View the full report.

The ubiquity of streaming has also affected what types of music are popular. It has helped Latin music rise to the top of the charts, and established stars like Ozuna and Bad Bunny. According BuzzAngle data, 95 percent of Latin Music consumption last year came via on-demand streaming. The medium has also been a boon for holiday music, helping songs like Mariah Carey’s 1994 song “All I Want for Christmas is You” reach its Hot 100 peak in 2018.

Hip-hop’s ascension to being music’s most consumed genre was also aided by streaming, as it accounted for 92 percent of rap music consumption.

As streaming continues to soar, digit downloads declined for a sixth consecutive year to just $1 billion. Physical music sales also dipped to $1.3 billion, a 23 percent drop from 2017, though vinyl sales rose 8 percent to $419 million.

Despite the success of the overall music industry, there have been concerns raised over the way the revenue is split. An August 2018 Citigroup report claimed musicians were earning just 12 percent of the total profit, while services like Apple Music and Spotify earned the largest share.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here