US recorded-music market grew 10% according to RIAA mid-year stats
US industry body the RIAA just shared its mid-year figures for 2018, outlining the growth in recorded-music revenues in the first half of this year. Retail spending on recorded-music grew by 10% year-on-year to $4.6bn, while wholesale revenues (after the cut taken by digital services) also grew by 10%, to $3.1bn. Streaming now accounts for 75% of retail recorded-music revenues in the US: the category grew by 28% year-on-year to $3.4bn in the first six months of 2018.
Paid subscription revenues grew by 33% to $2.55bn, including $354m from ‘limited-tier’ subscriptions like Amazon’s Prime Music and Pandora Plus, which have limits on their catalogue or ability to play tracks on demand. The average number of paying music subscribers in the US in the first half of this year was 46.4 million, up from 31.5 million in the first half of 2017. Note: this isn’t the figure at the end of June, but rather an average across the six months.
As for older formats, physical sales in the US were down by 25% in the first half of this year to $462m, including a 41% plummet in CD sales and a 13% increase in vinyl sales. Download revenues fell by 27%, meanwhile, to $562m - “the lowest level in more than a decade” according to the RIAA. Physical is now just 10% of the US recorded-music market by retail value, while downloads are just 12%.
The big picture is double-digit growth for the US recorded-music market once again, although there’s a talking point around the slowdown in the rate of that growth.
Overall retail and wholesale revenues were up by 10% year-on-year in the first half of 2018, but in the first half of 2017 their YoY growth was 17% and 14.6% respectively. Meanwhile, the first half of 2018’s 28% growth in streaming revenues compares to 48% in the first half of 2017.