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Streaming boom keeps US record industry in growth, up 14.6% this year

By | Published on Thursday 21 September 2017


Just in case you needed confirmation, which you might have done, I don’t know, I should have checked, but I’ve been busy and didn’t, but let’s just assume I did, that I set up a survey, you filled it out, and everything was confirmed that you needed everything confirmed, and so here I am with the confirmation that the recorded music industry is still in growth thanks to the streaming boom.

Well, today’s confirmation is specific to the American record industry, but that’s still the biggest recorded music market in the world, plus we’re seeing similar trends elsewhere.

According to the Recording Industry Association Of America, in the first half of 2017 retail revenues from recorded music Stateside were up approximately 17% to $4 billion, with wholesale revenues up about 14.6% to around $2.7 billion. It’s the streams that did it, of course, with revenues from all the various streaming services available in the US now accounting for 62% of the total American market, with total streaming revenues up 48% to $2.5 billion in the first six months of the year.

So that’s all groovy isn’t it? Oh, except, you need to note something. It’s important. Have you got a Post-It note? And one of those nice Sharpie pens? If not, maybe nip out to your local stationery store and get some. Or a pound shop. I mean, you won’t get the actual brand products there, but they’ll sell you something similar.

And then, once you have your Sharpie in one hand and your post-it pad in the other, you need to note the following. IN CAPITAL LETTERS. In your best hand writing. “Although recorded music revenues continue to grow, blah blah blah blah value gap, blah blah blah blah YouTube”. Got that? Good.

Writes RIAA big cheese Cary Sherman in one of those blog posts you all like so much: “We estimate that there may be a TRILLION streams in 2017, counting both on-demand services and digital radio (some 460 billion in first half of the year). Wrap your head around that staggering number. It is encouraging but also speaks to the foundational challenge that continues to confront the music community”.

A “foundational challenge” hey? Sounds like fun. “But what is that foundational challenge?” you’re all sitting there not wondering. “To the fan”, Sherman goes on, “there is often little difference between the multitudes of services available, yet the payouts to creators are very different and vastly impacted by outdated or abused laws and regulations”.

Woo value gap! “That’s why a united music community continues to be incredibly animated about music’s ‘value gap'”, says the RIAA chief, “and calls upon policymakers  – and our business partners  – across the globe to do better and address these inequities”. By which, he mainly means, reform the copyright safe harbour so that services like YouTube can be forced to pay higher music royalties, closing the value gap.

Concludes Sherman in his half year stats blog: “We’re proud of the work we have done to foster a dynamic and diverse marketplace that serves the modern fan. We also realise there’s a lot more to do. For the second half of 2017, we look forward to more great music, and hope that that we can make more progress on addressing fundamental inequities that stymie music’s full potential”.

Fans of RIAA charts should click here.