Streaming Services Are Now a Billion Dollar Business for U.S. Music Industry

Janko Roettgers

The U.S. music industry generated more that $1 billion dollars with paid streaming during the first half of 2016, according to new data released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The trade group said that paid streaming grew 112 percent year-over-year, and now accounts for 30 percent of all music industry revenue.

The growth of Apple Music, Spotify and smaller competitors in the streaming space is actually reversing a two decade-long trend of declining revenues for the music business, with recorded music retail revenues growing 8.1 percent year-over-year.

The growth in streaming unsurprisingly coincides with a decline in digital sales. Consumers who pay $10 a month for a streaming service simply aren’t inclined to pay for permanent copies. Digital downloads from iTunes and other online stores declined 17 percent to $1 billion during the first half of the year. This also means that paid subscriptions now make just as much money as digital downloads.

Together with other forms of streaming, included ad-supported listening on platforms like YouTube and Vevo as well as satellite radio, streaming now accounts for close to 50 percent of all music industry revenue.

The growth ins streaming is largely driven by a small number of services: Spotify recently announced that it now has 40 million paying users worldwide, followed by Apple Music with 17 million paying subscribers.

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