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RECORDED MUSIC PULLED IN $12.2B IN 2020

Recorded music revenues rose for the fifth consecutive year in 2020 as the number of paid subscriptions to on-demand streaming services continued to increase at double-digit rates, the RIAA reported today.

More specifically, recorded music revenues rose 9.2% to hit $12.2b. Streaming revenues topped $10b for the first time in 2020, up 13%, and were responsible for 83% of the music industry’s income.

The number of paying subscribers was up 15m to 75.5m, with income from paid subscriptions growing 15% to $7.7b as streaming services added more subscribers than in any previous year. Paid subscriptions accounted for 64% of total revenues at the retail level.

Wrote RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier in his year-end review, No Ordinary Year: “That paradigm shift explains why record companies today are so determined and vigilant in fighting to ensure that the platforms that use music (and profit from its use) take a license and pay for it— standing up for a core first principle that creators should be fairly paid everywhere their work is used and reflecting consumers’ fundamental agreement with that principle.” 

Physical albums were up nearly 29% over 2019 to $626m, and for the first time since 1986, revenue from vinyl topped CDs; CDs dipped 23% to $483m. Combined, the value of physical product makes up 9% of the business, surpassing digital downloads at 6%.

“It was a year of historically painful personal losses and disconnection,” Glazier wrote. “But it also marked yet another chapter in the story of music’s power and wonder—and the unstoppable creative vitality of the people who make it.

“As the crises deepened and stretched on, we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with virtually every segment of our industry, including by fighting to ensure artists and songwriters were included in support and relief programs, to save live music venues that are central to our nation’s culture and our community’s economy and to provide resources like MusicCovidRelief.com with critical information on benefits, grants and other relief available to America’s artists, songwriters and other music professionals. And, of course, through it all, music itself has been there to provide solace, inspiration and hope—in collective virtual moments that bound us together and in our most private times helping us find ways to make it through.”

Read the full RIAA report here.

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