The live music collapse brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic may have caveats for certain subsets of the broader industry. The Recording Industry Alliance of America (RIAA) have released a mid-year report whose outlook includes silver linings for music streaming and vinyl sales.
The report, titled Mid-Year RIAA Revenue Statistics, estimates that total U.S. retail sales of recorded music grew to $5.65 billion in the first half of 2020. Of that sum, streaming revenues (which include subscription, ad-supported, on-demand and lean-back models) accounted for $4.8 billion – $512.3 million more than the same period in 2019. For the sake of comparison, U.S. streaming grew from $3.4 billion in the first half of 2019 to $4.3 billion in the first half of 2019.
Music Business Worldwide notes that markets outside the U.S. have seen similar increases. The first half of 2020 saw wholesale recording industry revenue grew 4% in Spain and 4.8% in Germany.
Perhaps an even more unexpected phenomenon is the proportion of music sold in physical formats in the first half of 2020. Despite U.S. physical sales dropping by 23% to $376 million, vinyl record sales increased 4% to $232 million – 62% of the total. According to the RIAA report, vinyl hasn’t outsold CDs since the 1980s. Their findings line up with a mid-year report shared by Discogs which posted growth in vinyl sales of 29% through the platform’s marketplace.
More information is available in the Mid-Year RIAA Revenue Statistics report.
Image credit: Elviss Railijs