Music Business

RIAA: Recorded music reaches $15 billion milestone

A new report from the RIAA is shedding much-needed light on recorded music’s incredible comeback story.

A guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix.

What a difference a decade can make. Back in 2010, the music industry was in dire straights. A decade-long battle against piracy had eroded album sales and hurt fan relationships, leading to crossroads where many questioned the industry’s future. Then Spotify happened, and as we all know, things slowly began to improve.

Now, there are more reasons than ever to celebrate. 

Today, The RIAA released new data showing continued strong growth in virtually every recorded music format – including streaming, vinyl, and even CDs which jumped 21% last year. That strong, broad growth – which includes TikTok music revenue for the first time – pushed overall revenues to a historic $15 billion last year, the highest figure ever reported by our industry (though when adjusted for inflation still nearly 40% off 1999’s peak).  This data shows how artists and labels working together are achieving new heights of creative and commercial success and driving opportunities and income streams for songwriters, publishers, platforms, services, and apps.

RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier released the following statement:

“The incredible run of strong, industry-wide growth documented in this and prior reports speaks to the dynamic and vibrant creative and commercial relationships today’s labels have built with their artist partners. Labels haven’t simply reinvented themselves, they have helped transform the entire process of music creation, discovery, and distribution to bolster creative freedom and artistic expression while seamlessly meeting fans everywhere and anywhere they want to be. The result has been an incredibly vibrant period delivering new opportunities, platforms, and experiences – from music-powered fitness apps to gaming platform livestream concerts to must-have vinyl exclusives to global surprise digital album drops. Creative genius unleashed in new ways driving shared commercial success and record payments to artists.”

He continued:

“No industry in history has embraced changing technologies and innovations faster than music over the last ten years – taking streaming from novelty to ubiquitous in the blink of an eye and now working to drive a new generation of social apps, shared immersive experiences, and blockchain/NFT opportunities going forward.”

RIAA’s full 2021 Recorded Music Revenue Report is available here

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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