Music Industry

Streaming Is Now Bigger Business than Physical Record Sales

Still think streaming is a fad? Think again. Bloomberg has some numbers that may surprise you.

Streaming music is officially a bigger business than physical music sales in the U.S. for the first time, according to new data released today by the Recording Industry Association of America. If current trends continue, streaming will surpass digital download sales as the biggest single source of revenue for the music industry by next year.

As some parts of the music industry shrank rapidly and other parts boomed, the overall industry remained about flat in the first half of 2015, compared with the same period the year before. “The data continues to reflect the story of a business undergoing an enormous transformation,” says Cary Sherman, chairman of the RIAA.

Oh, and these numbers were released before Apple Music came online. From The Telegraph.

Apple Music, the tech company’s online music subscription service, launched on the last day statistics were recorded.

Cary Sherman, RIAA chief executive, said in a statement that while streaming music revenues continued to grow healthily, he criticised the rates being paid to labels and artists for streaming music, saying they “do not always equal fair market rates”.

At the same time, though, US streaming subscription growth has started to plateau. Check out Music Business Worldwide for a whack of really, really interesting sales figures.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38403 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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