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Streaming Has Made More Money Than Album Sales For The First Time Ever

Written by Rosie Pentreath on March 23, 2016

The future is here, kids. It’s official: streaming has made more money than sales of digital downloads and physical albums for the first time ever.

In its annual Year-End Sales & Shipments Data Report, the Recording Industry Association of America showed that streaming generated 34.3% of the US music industry’s gross revenue whilst downloads contributed 34% and physical sales contributed 28.8%.

The report also shows revenue from music streaming has been on a steady rise over the past few years, growing from 27% of the music industry pie last year to 34.3% this year. Add to that, all segments of the streaming market grew as well, with total streaming revenues exceeding $2 billion for the first time ever.

Within streaming, it’s paid-for subscription services like Tidal and Apple Music that contribute the most (we’re not surprised: the likes of Rihanna and Kanye launched their most recent releases as ‘streamed first’ tracks and what they say goes, really).

In fact, RiRi’s ANTI made it to No. 1 on the US Billboard charts after its initial Tidal debut, so…

In another first, vinyl overtook ad-supported streaming sites like YouTube and Spotify in 2015: the online platforms brought in $385 million while LPs made a cool $422 million, or about 10% more in the same period.

Black is well-and-truly back.


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