RIAA Mid-Year Report: Revenues Grew 18% In First Half Of 2019, Driven By Streaming

Music recorded retail revenues in the United States grew 18%, to $5.4 billion, in the first half of 2019, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) Mid-Year Report for 2019. In 2018, the U.S. music industry’s retail revenues had reached $4.6 billion.

That double-digit growth rate is driven by the number of paid streaming subscriptions totaling more than 60 million for the first time (up 30% from 2018)—this represents an average of more than 1 million new subscriptions per month over the past 12 months.

Streaming revenues alone grew 26% to $4.3 billion in the first half of this year (up from $3.4 billion in 2018), and includes revenues from subscription services, digital and customized radio services including those revenues distributed by SoundExchange, and ad-supported, on-demand streaming services. Paid subscriptions made up 62% of overall industry revenues and account for 77% of U.S. streaming music revenues for the first half of 2019.

Streaming now generates 80% of music business revenues.

“This continued growth lets record companies do more than ever to discover, promote, and protect great artists,” RIAA’s Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said in a statement. “Worldwide, labels now spend nearly $6 billion a year to find talent, enable artists to record, cut through the noise, and be heard. Finding and developing new talent is the lifeblood of the business, with 20% of a major label’s roster of artists signed fresh each year. 7 in 10 unsigned artists want a label deal to help them make it in an increasingly complicated and high-tech business.

“Labels have worked for years to build powerful new tools, infrastructure, and teams to help artists navigate the global streaming ecosystem and protect and promote their work. Whether it’s fighting to shut down industrial piracy and stream-ripping operations or standing up to Big Tech platforms that have avoided accountability to exploit artists and grossly underpay for music. And more than anything, it’s a reminder of what we can accomplish when the whole music community—and our music service partners—work together. Collaboration and cooperation work. We’ve proven that by establishing the right to be paid for streaming in the early days of the internet, to the technical and data collaboration that made modern music services possible, to even more recent problem solving like the Music Modernization Act that finally won justice for artists who recorded before 1972. Let’s keep it going,” Glazier said.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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