The Recording Industry Association of America released a report that highlights the full extent of the streaming revolution’s impact on the music industry–streaming is more profitable than digital downloads, licensing deals, and physical CDs combined.
Streaming constitutes a variety of services from Spotify and Tidal to video services like VEVO and digital radio broadcast, constituting $3.4 billion in 2018 so far.
With 1 million new paid subscribers per month, growth is small (compared to the overall amount of listeners) but steady. Digital download revenues were down this year by 27%, while physical purchases were down by 41%, trends amplified by the comparable rise in streaming.
The RIAA commented on the report:
“The music streaming economy presents myriad new opportunities, but also its share of challenges too… According to Nielsen, more than 70,000 different albums were released by mid-year. Finding an audience amongst an extraordinary range of music choices, competing for the user’s attention against other entertainment options on the ubiquitous smartphone, and being prominent on dozens of different digital platforms is … critical for success.”
One other notable bright spot has been the reemergence of vinyl as a growing medium.