RIAA 2015 Year-End: Streaming Continues To Dominate
March 22, 2016 at 12:18 PM (PT)
Streaming continued to dominate the recording industry, according to the RIAA's Year-End Sales Report for 2015, issued TODAY (3/22). Streaming revenue represented 34.3% of the industry's reported revenues of $7.016 billion, a slight uptick of 1% over last year's total of $6.951 billion, and more than last year's figure of 27%.
The good: The U.S. recorded music business brought in more money last year than the year prior -- by a slim margin -- reporting revenues of $7.016 billion, up from from $6.951 billion, an increase of 0.09 percent.
Still, even as overall streaming and revenue are on the rise -- to 317.2 billion streams from 2014's 164.5 billion streams -- per-stream rates have dropped 24% year-over-year.
Download sales made up 34% of revenues, trailed by physical with 28.8%, and synch at 2.9%. Paid subscriptions were up to 10.8 million from 7.7 million in 2014, with revenue increasing 52.3%, to $1.22 billion, compared to $800.1 million in 2014. Ad-supported streaming revenue increased 30.6% to $385.1 million.
Overall digital revenue, including downloads and streams, increased 6.2% to $4.8 billion, from $4.51 billion in 2014, accounting for a combined 70% of overall sales, up from 67% in 2014.
Digital sales revenue, removing streaming revenues, fell 10.4%, to $2.32 billion. Digital unit counts for albums fell to 109.4 million from 117.6 million, a 7% decline; while track downloads fell to 1.02 billion from 1.2 billion, a 14.9% drop-off.
SOUNDEXCHANGE distributions for programmed streams totaled $802.6 million, up 3.8%.
The total retail value of physical product -- CDs, vinyl and DVDs of albums and singles -- fell 10.%, to $2.0 billion. CD albums dropped to $1.521 billion, from $1.83 billion in 2014. Unit counts fell to roughly 123 million, from about 143 million. Vinyl LPs were up 32% by value, and at $416 million, at their highest level since 1988.
The RIAA noted that synchronization royalties paid to labels jumped 7%, to nearly $203 million.
The report concluded: "Overall, the data for 2015 shows a music industry that continues to adopt digital distribution platforms for the majority of its revenues. While overall revenue levels were only up slightly, large shifts continued to occur under the surface as streaming continued to increase its market share. In 2015, the industry had the most balanced revenue mix in recent history, with just about 1/3 of revenues coming from each of the major platform categories: streaming, permanent downloads, and physical sales."