HITS Daily Double


The RIAA pointed to four straight years of music-industry growth as a key takeaway from the trade org’s full-year 2019 revenue report for recorded music in the U.S., released on 2/25. Paid streaming was the primary driver, as revenues grew by 13% to $11.1 billion, with $8.8b of that total generated by streaming, a 20% year-over-year uptick.

At $6.8b (+25% y-o-y), paid streaming accounted for more than three quarters of total streaming revenues, and more than 60% of overall recorded-music revenues.

On average, more than a million new customers signed up each month in 2019, which ended with north of 60m U.S. subscribers.

On the physical-product front, CD revenues were down by 12% to $615m, but vinyl was up 19% to $504m, its best showing since the transitional year of 1988, as people were busily repurchasing their record collections in digital form and the “longbox” was a thing (Google it). Although LPs accounted for just 4.5% of overall revenues, the analog format’s ongoing renaissance suggests that this niche market is playing a key role in keeping the album off the endangered-configurations list.

Media reaction to the report ranged from concerns voiced about slowing streaming growth to a trademark tidbit from MBW’s Tim Ingham, who calculated that the Big Three derived more than $1m an hour from streaming during Q4.

Meanwhile, RIAA Chairman/CEO and chief cheerleader Mitch Glazier trumpeted on his blog, “We are working in partnership with the entire music community to provide expanded opportunities for both artists and fans and keep the heart of American culture beating for another generation.”

In the first 24 hours after posting, Glazier’s remarks drew 13 claps—which is apparently the RIAA’s version of likes.