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RIAA: BIZ REVS BROKE
$5 BILLION IN H1

Streaming, not surprisingly, plays the starring role in the RIAA’s midyear revenue report. In the first half of 2019, total revenues grew 18% to $5.4 billion, which projects to a $10 billion-plus year; if that occurs it would be the first time the industry has hit that milestone since 2007. Streaming music accounted for 80% of industry revenues, which grew 26% to $4.3b for the half year.

Paid subscriptions led the way, generating $3.3b, or 77% of streaming revenues during H1, and 62% of overall revenues, as subscriptions hit 61.1m, a robust 30% uptick, with more than 1m new subscribers ponying up each month over the last 12 months. Ad-supported revenues, meanwhile, rose 25% to $427m—though still a mere 10% of the overall streaming pie.

Digital downloads decayed by 18% to $462m, as track sales lost 16% year-over-year, while digital-album sales suffered a 23% drop. Physical revenues, on the other hand, were up 5% to $485m—but, the RIAA points out, this growth was the result of a reduction in physical product returns, and on a gross basis the revenues from physical product would have been down. Vinyl grew 13% to $224m, or 4% of total revenues.

These stats are “great news for the music business and for the U.S. economy overall,” says RIAA Chairman/CEO and head cheerleader Mitch Glazier (pictured) in a blog post. “Music contributes $143 billion to the nation’s GDP every year, supporting more than 157,000 music-related businesses and nearly 2 million jobs. A healthy music economy fuels a healthy American economy.”

He also takes a thinly veiled shot at YouTube, hailing the labels his org represents for “fighting to shut down industrial piracy and stream-ripping operations [and] standing up to Big Tech platforms that have avoided accountability to exploit artists and grossly underpay for music.”

Glazier points out that record companies spend nearly $6b a year worldwide on signing and developing new acts, who represent around 20% of major-label rosters on average. He’s hardly the first to describe the A&R/artist-development sector as “the lifeblood of the business,” nor will he be the last.

 

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