Paid Music Streaming Subscriptions Continue to Grow

October 22, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Industries | Media & Entertainment

RIAA Paid Music Streaming Subscriptions H1 2016 H1 2021 Oct2021

Paid music subscriptions in the US have grown yet again during the first half of 2021. Recent data released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) indicates that paid music streaming services gained another 9.5 million subscriptions over H1 2020 to reach 82.1 million.

Although earlier data shows that people have spent more time with streaming audio since the pandemic, the growth in streaming music precedes COVID-19, as witnessed by the growth in paid music subscriptions in recent years. Paid music subscriptions in the US have more than doubled since the first half of 2017, when the number of subscriptions totaled 31.5 million. Moreover, the 9.5 million new subscriptions in the first half of this year represent a 13% increase over the 72.6 million paid subscriptions in H1 2020.

Streaming Retains Dominant Share of US Music Revenues

In H1, streaming accounted for a full 84% of all US music revenues, which is about on par with its share of total revenues a year ago. Physical (10%), digital downloads (5%) and synchronization royalties (2%) make up the remaining share of music industry revenues for the first half of 2021.

Of the $5.9 billion in revenue brought in by streaming music in H1, 78% came from paid subscriptions, with these revenues growing by 26% year-over-year (y-o-y) to $4.6 billion. In fact, paid streaming subscriptions accounted for about two-thirds (65%) of total recorded music revenues in the first 6 months of 2021.

RIAA’s data also shows that ad-supported, on-demand music revenues saw a notable lift in H1. Growing by 54% y-o-y, revenues from ad-supported streaming services hit $741 million. On the other hand, revenues from digital and customer radio services only saw y-o-y growth of 3%, accounting for $585 million of the $5.9 billion in streaming revenues.

Digital Download Revenues Continue to Shrink

Accounting for a mere 5% of total music revenues in H1 2021, digital downloads in the US continue to decline. Revenues from digital downloads stood at $319 million, down from $340 million in H1 2020 and $444 million in H1 2019. This decrease is due to declines in the sale of both individual tracks (-12% y-o-y) and albums (-4% 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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