US recorded music revenue increased by $ 1.5 billion in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of last year

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The US recorded music market has got off to a good start in the first six months of 2021.

On a retail basis, US recorded music revenue (money spent on streaming subscriptions, as well as physical and digital music) increased $ 1.5 billion or 27% year-on-year, for $ 7.1 billion in H1 2021 (compared to $ 5.6 in H1 2020).

That’s according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which confirmed these new statistics today (September 13) in its 2021 Mid-Year Music Industry Revenue Report.

Growth in the recorded music market in the first half of the year was primarily driven by music streaming, including paid subscription services, ad-supported services, digital and personalized radio, as well as music licensing on Facebook and digital fitness apps, which in total grew by 26% to $ 5.9 billion in the first half of 2021.

Streaming represented 84% of total sales for the period, roughly at the same level as in H1 2020.

A closer look at the RIAA data reveals that, at 4.6 billion dollars, paid subscriptions accounted for the lion’s share of US recorded music revenue in the first half of 2021, up 26% year-on-year.

Paid subscriptions account for almost two-thirds of total revenue and 78% of streaming revenue

In the first half of 2021, the average number of paid subscriptions to on-demand music streaming services reached a record 82 million, up 13% from 73 million in the first half of 2020 (The RIAA accounts for packages multi-user as a single subscription and excludes level -services).

Meanwhile, ad-supported on-demand music streaming revenue (from services like YouTube, the ad-supported version of Spotify, and Facebook) grew 54% to $ 741 million in the first half of the year. 2021 (see below).

Ad-supported music streaming revenue grew only 3% in the first half of 2020, due to the impact of COVID on ad revenue.

Ad-supported services, which the RIAA estimates represent hundreds of billions of streams for more than 100 million listeners in the United States, accounted for 11% of total recorded music revenue in the first half of the year.

In addition, “digital and personalized radio service revenues” increased 3% to $ 585 million in the first half of 2020.

This category includes SoundExchange distributions for services such as SiriusXM and Internet radio stations, as well as payments directly paid for by similar services, included in this report under the heading “Other Advertising Supported Broadcasts”.



Elsewhere, physical music revenue in the first half of 2021 reached $ 690 million, up $ 297 million year-on-year, from $ 393 million in the first half of last year.

Vinyl album revenue rose 94% to $ 467 million in the first half of 2021, however, as noted by the RIAA, retail store closures due to the pandemic in the first six months of 2020 had a significant impact on revenues.

CD revenue rose 44% to $ 205 million, but still remains 19% below what it was in the first half of 2019.

CDs made up 30% of physical revenue, while vinyl made up over two-thirds of physical format revenue.



Writing in a blog post today, Mitch Glazier, President and CEO of the RIAA, said: “New published data shows today how Americans continue to enjoy and care about recorded music – listening to more than 840 BILLION on-demand streams during the first half of the year, a record for a period of six months in history and one with a substantial room to continue both on audio streaming and on audiovisual platforms like TikTok and Twitch.

“Streaming continues to grow in countless ways, expanding its reach as the dominant form of listening today with nearly $ 6 billion in recorded music revenue so far this year, or 84% of the total. Paid subscriptions continued a multi-year trend of strong growth, increasing by 13% in the first half of 2020 to reach a record 82 million.

“These powerful results reflect a fundamental truth about the ways we connect to music today – as a sustained and ongoing relationship where a constant stream of listening and discovery across different devices and services is with us throughout the day,” fueling a creative and commercial renaissance. “

Mitch Glazier, RIAA

He added: “Emerging platforms like short videos, fitness apps and a host of chat and social media applications also obtain a license and begin to generate significant income. Record companies are urgently acting to ensure that these growing services pay for the music they depend on, thus securing future earnings for artists as technologies evolve.

“Data also shows growing interest in vinyl – rebounding from the challenges and disruption of 2020 to a new post-Napster biannual high of $ 467 million. Obviously, even in an age of playlists and recommendation engines, fans still enjoy the vinyl experience. And labels have worked to meet that demand with a constant stream of releases, special editions, and audiophile-ready options.

“These powerful results reflect a fundamental truth about the ways we connect to music today – as a sustained and ongoing relationship where a constant stream of listening and discovery across different devices and services accompanies us throughout the day,” fueling a creative and commercial renaissance.

“One with continued new opportunities and room for growth and success for artists and their label partners. “

Music trade around the world


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