RIAA: Recorded music revenue increased by 27% in first half of 2021
New numbers out from the Recording Industry Association of America reveal that recorded music revenues were up by 27% during the first half of 2021, with growth primarily driven by on-demand streaming.
Guest post by Ian Courtney of Celebrity Access
The Recording Industry Association of America released its mid-year review of recorded music revenue, revealing to no one’s surprise that on-demand streaming continues to be a key driver for the industry.
According to the RIAA, overall recorded music revenues grew from $5.6 billion in the first half of 2020 to $7.1 billion in 2021 at retail value. At wholesale value revenues rose 25%, from $3.7 billion in 1H 2020 to $4.6 billion in 1H 2021.
Revenues from streaming, which includes everything from paid subscription services to freemium streaming and customized radio, grew 26% in the first half of 2021 to $5.9 billion.
Streaming accounted for 84% of total revenues for the period, a figure which was largely unchanged year-over-year.
Most revenue comes from subscription services, which totaled $4.6 Billion in 1H 2021, a year-over-year increase of 26%.
Ad supported streaming and limited-tier subscriptions such as for mobile only, rebounded significantly in 1H 2021, growing 54% to $741 million. That’s a sea change from 2020 when that category grew by only 3% due to the headwinds of COVID-19.
Digital downloads continued their precipitous decline, with revenue falling 6% to $319 million, accounting for 5% of total revenues.
However, vinyl continued its resurgence, with revenue increasing by 94% year-over-year to $467 million though the comparison versus the prior year includes a period in which retail stores were significantly impacted by Covid-19, and Record Store Day 2020 was delayed and did not occur in the spring (as it
did in 2021).
Surprisingly, CDs also fared well in the first half of 2021, with revenue increasing by44% to $205 million, but still remain 19% lower than they were in 1H 2019. CDs only accounted for 30% of physical revenues,while vinyl accounted for more than 2/3 of physical format revenues.