Report: Music Streaming Surpasses Downloads in 2015

Online music streaming accounted for the largest share of U.S. music-industry revenues for the first time in 2015, nudging ahead of downloads, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported.
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WASHINGTON�Online music streaming accounted for the largest share of U.S. music-industry revenues for the first time in 2015, nudging ahead of downloads, the�Recording Industry Association of America�(RIAA) reported.

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The U.S. music industry posted a 0.9 percent gain in estimated retail-level dollar volume to $7.02 billion, with the gain attributable to 28.8 percent growth in streaming volume, to $2.41 billion. Streaming volume exceeded $2 billion for the first time.

Sales of digital downloads and physical media were down.

Streaming share:�With the shifts, streaming accounted for 34.3 percent of retail-level dollar volume, a tad more than download�s 34 percent share and ahead of physical media�s 28.8 percent share. Combined streaming and download volume accounted for 70 percent of industry sales, up from 2014�s 67 percent.

The streaming category consists of revenues from subscription services (such as paid versions of Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and the like); streaming radio services including Internet radio and SiriusXM; and non-subscription on-demand streaming services such as YouTube, Vevo, and ad-supported Spotify.

Streaming�s share of industry dollar volume grew from 2014�s 27 percent and 2010�s 7 percent.

In 2015, digital music-subscription revenues hit a new all-time high, generating more than $1 billion in revenues for the first time. The number of subscribers grew to more than 13 million by the end of December.

Here�s a closer look at other numbers:

Digital downloads:�Estimated retail-level dollar volume fell 18 percent to $2.3 billion. The number of single-song downloads fell 14.9 percent to 1.02 billion, and the number of album downloads fell 7 percent to 1.09 million.

CD:�Unit shipments fell 13.9 percent to 122.9 million, with retail dollar volume falling 17 percent to $1.52 billion.

Vinyl:�Unit shipments of LPs and EPs grew 28.3 percent to 16.9 million, with retail volume rising 32.2 percent to $416.2 million, accounting for 5.9 percent of total industry volume.�

This story originally appeared on Radio Magazine's sister publication Twice.

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