Streaming music generated more revenue than CDs in the US for the first time in 2014

By Justin Kahn
Mar 19, 2015
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  1. streaming cds

    While it may be hard to believe for some, considering how long it has been since we were all going out to the store to buy albums, streaming revenue has finally overtaken CD sales. According to data released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), US streaming revenue hit $1.87 billion last year compared to the $1.85 billion generated in CD sales.

    While digital download sales, the recording industry’s biggest earner, fell 8.7% to $2.58 billion, streaming and ad revenue from the likes of iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Vevo, Pandora, Sirius and others jumped up 29% year-over-year. 

    It is clear to see that with a 27% jump in total industry revenue share, streaming services in particular are starting to gain steam and that listeners are shifting over to subscription based options over digital/physical copies more and more.  Both paid subscriptions and free-add-supported services like YouTube both saw large growth at 25% and 37% respectively. However, while paid subscription services brought in almost $800 million in revenue, the freemium model is still only generating a modest $295 million.

    Despite the good news for streaming/ad-supported services and its advocates, music sales as a whole dropped 0.5% in the US to $6.97 billion across 2014.

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  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,327   +1,930

    Jeez. I haven't bought a CD in yonks. Mind you I've never streamed any music either. I don't mind the radio playing in the background.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,293   +659

    Considering how few people actually pay for streams or downloaded music, CD sales must *really* be in the toilet.
  4. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,524   +828

    I bought a CD of my favorite album this year. The only reason really was to have a lossless format of it...there isnt enough digital storage on most devices to justify it, nor is there enough affordable highfi in portable devices.. Also alot of crappy producers are ruining CD recordings of songs with crappy post effects (Night Visions (imagine dragons) anyone?)
  5. Railman

    Railman TS Booster Posts: 708   +101

    I am not surprised that CD sales are at an all time low. So many record shops have gone out of business. I was surprised just how few record shops there are in central London since I last worked there (about 6 years ago).

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