CNET reports, “Digital downloads, typified by the 99 cent iTUNES tracks that ruled the music industry as recently as four years ago, now make less money for U.S. labels than CDs and vinyl records.”
The surprise data shows downloads account for just 11% of U.S. labels’ revenue last year. CDs and vinyl records clocked in at 12%. The reason for the low numbers? Streaming music, says the report, accounting for 75% of revenue last year, according to year-end data from the RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (RIAA).
It wasn’t that long ago that digital downloads and streaming stood on equal footing. In 2015, downloads and streaming each accounted for about 34 percent of the music industry’s sales. But as streaming has shot up in popularity, the music industry’s overall fortunes have soared: Total sales have increased 40 percent in those three years that streaming has overtaken downloads.
Monthly fees for SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC and other streaming services were the biggest moneymaker, at $4.66 billion, up 33%, the RIAA said.