The RIAA has released its statistics for 2015 and, as always, there are some surprises. The things to remember about the RIAA is that it works for the record labels (especially the majors), so some stats you have to take with a grain of salt. Here are some of the more noteworthy data points.
- There was a very slight increase in the recorded music part of the business, with revenues of just over $7 billion, for an increase of 0.09%
- Streaming accounted for more revenue than any other income stream for the first time, accounting for 34.4% of income, while download sales made up 34%, physical sales were 28.8%, and synch were 2.9% of total revenue.
- Paid subscription revenue increased 52.3% to $1.22 billion, compared to $800.1 million in 2014, while ad-supported streaming revenue increased 30.6 percent to $385.1 million. All very good news!
- Revenue from CDs, vinyl and DVDs of albums and singles fell another 10.1 percent to $1.9 billion (although that was less than predicted). CDs fell to $1.521 billion from $1.83 billion the year before based on 123 million CDs that were sold last year, which was down from around 143 million in 2014.
- Vinyl sales continued to soar, generating $423 million from 16.9 million album sales and roughly 500,000 singles, an increase of 31.8 percent.
Here’s the catch – the RIAA’s numbers reflect retail sales, which means that the above numbers don’t reflect how much the labels actually received for their music, although wholesale prices are from 65 to 70%.