Streaming music grew 26% for the first half of 2019

Revenues from streaming music grew 26% to $4.3 billion for the first half of 2019, according to a new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In June, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said Apple Music hit the 60 million subscriber mark.

The streaming music category includes revenues from subscription services (such as paid versions of Apple Music, Spotify, TIDAL, Amazon, and others), digital and customized radio services including those revenues distributed by SoundExchange (like Pandora, SiriusXM, and other Internet radio), and ad-supported on-demand streaming services (such as YouTube, Vevo, and ad- supported Spotify).

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Paid subscriptions continued to be the biggest source of revenue for recorded music, according to the RIAA. Year-over-year growth of 31% brought total subscription revenues to $3.3 billion. Paid subscriptions alone made up 62% of overall industry revenues, and they accounted for 77% of U.S. streaming music revenues for the first half of 2019.

According to the RIAA, the continued rapid increase in the number of paid subscriptions was the biggest driver of growth. For the first half of 2019, the number of paid subscriptions to full on-demand streaming services grew 30% to 61.1 million. That represents an average of more than 1 million new subscriptions per month over the last 12 months. 

While streaming revenues continued to increase, revenue gains were partially offset by declines in sales of digital units. The RIAA says revenues from digital downloads fell 18% in the first half of  2019 to $462 million. Individual track sales revenues were down 16% year-over-year, and digital album revenues declined 23%. The category accounted for just 8.6% of total industry revenues in the first half 2019, a smaller percentage than physical formats.