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RIAA Paid Music Streaming Subscriptions H1 2016 H1 2020 Oct2020The first half of 2020 saw another rise in paid music subscriptions in the US. Recent data [pdf] released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) shows that paid streaming services gained 13.9 million subscriptions over H1 2019 to reach 72.1 million.

The rate of growth in streaming music can be seen in the dramatic rise in paid music subscription over just a few years’ time — subscriptions have more than tripled from H1 2016 when the number of subscriptions sat at 20.3 million. Moreover, the close to 14 million new subscriptions in the first half of this year represents a 24% increase over the 58.2 million paid subscriptions in H1 2019.

Streaming Accounts for the Dominant Share of US Music Revenues

H1 figures from 2015 and 2016 show that streaming music only accounted for 32% and 47% of US music industry revenues, respectively. Fast-forward to the first half of 2020, and streaming now accounts for a full 85% of all US music revenues, with physical (7%), digital downloads (6%) and sync (2%) making up the remaining share.

Of the $4.8 billion in revenue brought in by streaming music in H1 2020, 79% came from paid subscriptions, with these revenues growing by 14% year-over-year (y-o-y) to $3.8 billion. Indeed, paid streaming subscriptions accounted for about two-thirds (67%) of total revenues in the first 6 months of 2020.

Research indicates that consumers are far more likely to opt to stream music through free, ad-supported streaming services than they are to choose ad-supported services for streaming video. RIAA’s data shows that ad-supported, on-demand (audio and video) revenues for H1 were at $421 million (up 4% y-o-y). Likewise, digital and customized radio services accounted for $583 million of the $4.8 billion in streaming revenues (up 6% y-o-y).

Digital Download Revenues Fall

Making up just 6% of total music revenues in H1 2020, digital downloads in the US are on a downward slope. Revenues from digital downloads stood at $351 million, down from $451 million in H1 2019 and $557 in H1 2018. This decrease in revenues is due to double-digit declines in the sales of individual tracks (-27% y-o-y) and albums (-18% y-o-y).

About the Data: The number of paid streaming subscriptions does not include limited tier services (paid subscriptions for services limited by factors such as mobile access, catalog availability, on-demand limitations or device restrictions.

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