Streaming saving recording industry RIAA apple spotify

Oh, so streaming is actually saving the recording industry

For the first time since CD sales peaked, the music industry is on pace to report growth for a second straight year.

- Sep 21, 2016
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For a long time we were told it was all going to collapse. Streaming was just a liquidation sale, a concession to keep people from outright looting. But after nearly two decades in decline, the music industry is showing its strongest growth since the late '90s — thanks, it seems, to subscription-based streaming services.

The Recording Industry Association of America released its 2016 mid-year report on Tuesday, and for once, officially, the sky is not falling. From this time last year, the market's total estimated value has grown 8.1% to 3.4 billion USD. It's on pace to record growth two years in a row, something that hasn't happened since CD sales peaked in 1998 and 1999.

Digital revenue accounts for more than three-quarters of the industry's total revenue. We know that download sales are way down (so are physical sales, which make up less than 20% of the market). That's all offset, however, by an explosion in money paid out by streamers like Spotify, Apple Music, and TIDAL, up an insane 57% from this time last year to $1.61 billion. That's right, streaming payouts now make up nearly half of the U.S. recording industry's total revenue.

Over the year, paid on-demand services fully doubled the total subscriber count to 18.3 million users. And since more subscribers means more money, it follows that that segment also doubled its take, generating $1.013 billion. And better still, according to Billboard's analysis, per-stream revenue has increased too. Excluding the publishing royalty, the average payout per play is now $0.005786 USD, just over half an American penny.

Canadian stats are expected to follow shortly.

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