The big picture: Gone are the days of huge MP3 collections. While some no doubt still prefer to maintain personal libraries, data shows that the overwhelming majority of music listeners have traded in their iPods for streaming services that afford instant access to many millions of tracks.
Streaming accounted for nearly 80 percent of American music revenue in 2019 according to the Recording Industry Association of America's just-released full-year music report.
Overall music revenue in the US grew 13 percent to $11.1 billion last year, the fourth consecutive year of double digit growth. But more impressive was the 20 percent growth of streaming revenue, accounting for $8.8 billion - or 79 percent - of the haul. Breaking it down further, we see that paid subscriptions to on-demand services were responsible for $6.8 billion, up 25 percent year-over-year.
As a whole, Americans streamed some 1.5 trillion songs in 2019. That's a lot of music.
It's fascinating to see how much the music industry and listening habits have changed in just one decade. In 2009, streaming accounted for just five percent of the US music industry's revenue while physical media was responsible for 59 percent of the pie. By 2019, those numbers shifted dramatically.
The RIAA also calls for technology partners to do more to stop stream-ripping and other forms of piracy. "Music is by far the biggest draw to tech platforms, gaining views and listens that generate enormous revenues for distributors, but in many cases this happens without an appropriate share for creators," said Mitch Glazier, RIAA chairman and CEO.
Masthead credit: Music notes by Jozef Klopacka. Pie chart by RIAA.