Streaming Helps Drive 8.1 Percent Growth in Revenue for U.S. Recording Industry

After almost 20 years of constant decline caused by piracy and falling prices, the music business is enjoying a weak recovery thanks to the growth of paid streaming services.

The U.S. music industry experienced an 8.1 percent growth in overall revenue during the first half of this year, the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA) has reported last month. Total music industry revenue hit $3.4 billion, up from $3.17 billion in the first half of 2015, representing “the strongest industry growth since the late 1990s,” according to the trade association.

Digital revenue overall, including the download sales and the streaming segment, totaled $2.66 billion, or 77.5 percent of total revenue, up from 72.1 percent over the same period in 2015. Physical sales generated $671.9 million, or 19.6 percent of the total, down noticeably from 24.7 percent last year. The remaining 2.9% came from synchronization licensing fees.

Streaming revenue has exploded, growing 57.4 percent overall to total $1.61 billion, up from $1.02 billion in the first half of 2015. The biggest growth, which will no doubt receive cheers from labels, was in paid subscriptions which saw the overall subscriber count rise to 18.3 million — double the 9.1 million subscribers counted in the middle of 2015. Looking at subscription services by revenue, the segment more than doubled their value as well, generating $1.013 billion from 2015’s $478.6 million.