U.S. Recorded Music Revenue Grew 9.2% In 2020

What appears to be a positive bi-product of an extremely difficult 2020, recorded music revenues for the likes of Spotify, Tidal, and SoundCloud enjoyed a significant gain from those who remained homebound during the pandemic.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) year-end report, United States recorded music revenues grew 9.2% in 2020 to a total of $12.2 billion. Predictably, the largest driver was streaming services, which accounted for 83% of reported revenues. The runner-up was physical music sales, followed by digital downloads.

While it was a sub-optimal year for almost all other sectors of the industry, 2020 marked the fifth consecutive year of growth for recorded music. The consistent increase is mirrored closely by the rise in American streaming platform subscriptions that jumped from 22.7 million in 2016 to 75.5 million in 2020. Conversely, earnings from digital radio and ad-supported streaming have remained relatively stagnant.

In the physical music sales space, vinyl purchases surpassed CD sales for the first time since 1986 as the medium continues to gain traction. However, the overall revenue reported from physical music sales has remained nearly constant for the past three years, hovering just above $1 billion annually.

For more information about the state of American music sales, view the RIAA’s full report here.

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Photo: BenHoyle442