Streaming revenues overtake CD revenues in the US

Streaming brought in $1.87 billion in 2014, up 3.2% on the previous year, just edging ahead of overall income from CD sales, which fell 12.7% to $1.85 billion.

Money from vinyl single sales rose a hefty 99.2% to $5.9 million, while vinyl album sales grew over 49% to a far more sizeable $314.9 million.

DVD Audio and SACD sales contributed just $2.9 million with the numbers, perhaps unsurprisingly, heading firmly in the wrong direction.

Downloads remain the dominant revenue stream, having brought in just under $2.56 billion in 2014. This was despite a drop in sales numbers: sales of download singles dropped just over 10% year-on-year, while album download numbers fell 6.6%.

Source: RIAA

Source: RIAA

Naturally, this drop in downloads is explained in part by the growth in streaming. The number of paid subscriptions to on-demand music streaming services in the US has more than tripled since 2011.

In 2014, paid subscriptions grew 26% year-on-year to a total of 7.7 million subscriptions. This includes premium subscribers to the likes of Deezer and Spotify, as well as radio services such Pandora, which is hugely popular in the US.

Shipments of physical products decreased 7.1% in value in 2014, with CDs still the largest format at 82% of the physical market in the US.

In the UK in 2013, physical disc formats across music and movies – including CD, DVD and Blu-ray – still accounted for 56% of all sales of music, video and games.

MORE: Best streaming music services 2015

[via RIAA]

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).