The U.S. recorded music industry continued its transition to more digital and diverse revenue streams in 2015. Overall revenues in 2015 were up 0.9% to $7 billion at estimated retail value, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
The revenue growth from streaming services offset declines in sales of digital downloads and physical product. And at wholesale value, the market was up 0.8% to $4.95 billion — the fifth consecutive year that the market has grown at wholesale value.
For the first time, streaming in 2015 was the largest component of industry revenues, comprising 34.3% of the market, just slightly higher than digital downloads, according to the RIAA.
The streaming category includes revenues from subscription services (such as paid versions of Spotify, TIDAL, and Apple Music, among others), streaming radio service revenues that are distributed by SoundExchange (like Pandora, SiriusXM, and other Internet radio), and other non-subscription on-demand streaming services (such as YouTube, Vevo, and ad-supported Spotify).
RIAA Chair/CEO Cary Sherman says the numbers and data reflect a business that continues to undergo considerable changes in consumer behavior and business models. “The music industry is now a digital business, deriving more than 70% of its revenues from a wide array of digital platforms and formats. The share of revenues from those digital formats surpasses that of any other creative industry.”