Recorded Music Industry Grew 27% During First Half of 2021

Amazingly, the U.S. recorded music industry grew 27% in the first half of 2021. In fact, the RIAA published these numbers in its mid-year 2021 figures yesterday. The industry generated more than $7.1 billion at retail value. However, it’s important to keep in mind that’s in retail value. Revenues grew from $5.6 billion in the first half of 2020 to $7.1 billion in the first half of 2021. At wholesale value – the share of those revenues that went to rightsholders – the growth was 25%, from $3.7 billion to $4.6 billion.

Obviously, one of the big reasons behind this jump in revenues from recorded music is the streaming gains. Per the report, it now accounts for 84% of recorded music revenues in the US. Paid streaming subscriptions, which still account for the lion’s share of Spotify’s revenue, brought $4.6 billion to the U.S. recorded music industry.

Like last year, vinyl sales continued to grow in the first half of 2021. Streaming is still the dominant figure in the recorded music industry, but physical sales from vinyl and CDs are up 43.9% and 94% respectively from last year.

The RIAA also reported that the US averaged 82 million paid subscriptions for on-demand music streaming services in the first half of 2021, up from 73 million last year. Please note that these numbers do not include the limited-tier services, and they are a measure of subscriptions, not subscribers – family plans count as a single subscription.

These statistics are amazing to see. When the pandemic started, 27% year-on-year growth would have been unthinkable for the recorded music industry. These numbers surely fuel the ongoing discussion of how streaming is benefiting artists and songwriters, and how the model should evolve to ensure they get a fair share.

Stay tuned for more news !