US revenue from vinyl album sales highest since 1988

US revenue from vinyl album sales highest since 1988

This year's annual report by RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) reveals the continuing surge of streaming and vinyl as CD and downloads struggle on. And in general good news for the industry, overall music revenue in the United States grew 12 per cent to an estimated retail value of $9.8bn.

Three-quarters of that can be attributed to music streaming services (such as Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music and Deezer), which grew 30 per cent year-over-year. While free services supported by adverts – Spotify's free tier, for example – grew by 15 per cent, even more encouraging is that paid subscriptions grew 42 per cent compared with in 2017, exceeding 50 million in the US for the first time ever.

But vinyl is still having its day in the sun, too. Revenues from vinyl albums in the US last year increased by 8 per cent to $419 million - the highest it has been since 1988. Unsurprisingly, the format was the only area of growth in 2018, with the estimated retail value of CDs falling by 34%.

Revenues from downloaded tracks and albums declined for the sixth consecutive year, too.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10+ years in the hi-fi industry, she has reviewed all manner of audio gear, from budget amplifiers to high-end speakers, and particularly specialises in headphones and head-fi devices. In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.