The RIAA has released its official stats for recorded music revenues for the first half of 2014, and they’re likely to provoke the latest round of soul-searching over the sales-to-streams transition. Overall revenues were down 4.9% to $3.2bn in the first half of 2014, compared to $3.35bn in the first half of 2013. And digital music revenues were also down ever so slightly to $2.2bn. As part of that, subscription streaming income grew by 23.2% to $371.4m while ad-supported streaming was up 56.5% to $164.7m. Downloads? They’re down 11.8% to $1.3bn. After a decade of fretting about why download sales growth wasn’t making up for falling physical sales, we’re now moving into an era of worrying about why streaming growth isn’t making up for falling download sales – AND physical, of course, which remains a large but still-falling (CDs down 19.1% in the first half of 2014 in the US) part of the market. The RIAA estimates there were 7.8m US streaming subscribers in the first six months of this year, up from 5.5m a year before, but the debate will continue about how this growth can be accelerated further.

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