Washington, DC (September 25, 2017)—The RIAA’s latest semi-annual report estimates that retail revenues from recorded music in the United States hit $4.0 billion in the first half of 2017, growing 17 percent.
Retail revenues for recorded music owe their increase to 30 million music subscriptions and a talented array of artists and the professionals who support them, says Cary Sherman, chairman and CEO, RIAA, in an online statement. Sherman further notes, “The labels we represent have also invested $4.5 billion in discovering, nurturing and promoting artists.”
At wholesale value, the industry was up 14.6 percent to $2.7 billion, a growth that reflects a continuation of the trends from 2016. But overall, market revenues remain significantly below the levels they were in 1999, the last year that the recorded music industry posted a growth in revenue.
Total revenues from streaming platforms, accounting for 62 percent of the total market for the first half of 2017, were up 48 percent to $2.5 billion. Revenues from sales of digital tracks and albums, however, continued to decline. Overall digital download revenues were $757 million, down 24 percent to compared to the first half of 2016. Digital downloads, the best-selling format until as recently as 2015, accounted for only 19 percent of total industry revenues.
The total value of shipments of physical products defied recent historical trends, dipping only 1 percent, to $632 million. Those figures were bolstered by a decrease in the rate of returns of physical goods to record labels, states the report.
Revenues from shipments of CDs were down 3 percent to $431 million. Vinyl album revenues grew 3 percent to $182 million and accounted for 29 percent of total physical shipments at retail value, their greatest share since the eighties.
Overall, according to the report, although the industry’s revenues are still well below those of the nineties, the growth of paid subscriptions is helping offset the decline in both digital and physical unit-based products.
“We estimate that there may be a trillion streams in 2017, counting both on-demand services and digital radio (some 460 billion in first half of the year),” writes Sherman. Yet there is a “value gap,” he continues, and payouts to creators are very different and vastly impacted by outdated or abused laws and regulations. “For the second half of 2017, we look forward to more great music, and hope that that we can make more progress on addressing fundamental inequities that stymie music’s full potential.”