It’s raining music industry stats today. First, the IFPI revealed its global music sales figures for 2013, and now US industry body the RIAA has published its 2013 Music Industry Shipment and Revenue Statistics report too.

Overall, US industry revenues dipped 0.3% in 2013 to $7bn – the fourth consecutive year that it’s hovered around this mark. Within that, digital music accounted for $4.4bn of income: 64% of the overall market.

The RIAA breaks that down by format. Physical sales were down 12% in 2013 to $2.4bn, accounting for 35% of the overall market. Download sales dipped 1% to $2.8bn, taking a 40% share. And subscription / streaming rose 39% to $1.4bn, accounting for 21% of industry revenues. The US ended 2013 with 6.1m paying streaming subscribers, up from 3.4m at the end of 2012.

(The remainder was accounted for by ringtones and ringback tones’ 1% share of revenues, and synchronisation income’s 3% share. Note, all these figures are the retail value.)

“Overall, 2013 sales results show the continuing emergence of streaming music models as meaningful contributors to industry revenues. As recently as 2009, 95% of US music industry revenues came from traditional purchasing (with the majority in physical formats),” explains the RIAA’s report.

“In 2013, 21% of revenues came from streaming models, where fans can listen to vast libraries of music either for free or as part of a subscription, and nearly 2/3 of total revenues came from digitally distributed formats. All of this shows the music industry today has grown into a diverse digital business teeming with a wide variety of innovative services catering to all types of music fans.”


Expect plenty of debate about the impact streaming music is having on the US market. Focusing on income, the decline in downloads meant around $26m of lost revenues, while the growth of ad-supported streaming alone added nearly double that – $49.1m – let alone the $228.2m of additional subscription streaming value in 2013.

Streaming is more than making up for the decline in download sales in the US. The concern – just as it is for the IFPI’s global figures – is that streaming is having to shoulder not just falling digital sales, but the ongoing decline of CD sales too.

In that sense, 2014 is going to be an important year in proving whether the US can follow the same upward curve as Sweden and Norway in terms of streaming’s growth increasing the overall pie to an extent that cannibalisation of existing formats recedes as a concern.

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