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Vinyl sales top ad-based streaming revenue

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Last year, the US music industry brought in more revenue from sales of vinyl LPs than it did from ad-based streaming platforms such as YouTube and Spotify Free, a new report from record label representatives has revealed.

The annual report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) showed that although overall streaming revenues topped digital downloads for the first time ever, income from free services remained "meager."

Whereas sales of physical vinyl records were valued at $416m, which is up 32% and is the highest figure since 1998, ad-supported streaming accounted for only $385m in revenue.

Even though just 17 million vinyl records were sold, revenue still topped that from hundreds of billions of streams that didn't require a subscription.

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In a blog post on Medium (via The Verge), RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman wrote: “In 2015, fans listened to hundreds of billions of audio and video music streams through on-demand ad-supported digital services like YouTube, but revenues from such services have been meager  –  far less than other kinds of music services. And the problem is getting worse.”

While the number of streams rose by 101% over 2015, the group pointed out that growth in revenue was only 31%.

This is why we, and so many of our music community brethren, feel that some technology giants have been enriching themselves at the expense of the people who actually create the music,” the report continued.

It wasn’t all bad news from music streaming’s rise to prominence. In 2015, revenue from subscription streaming services topped $1 billion in the United States during 2015. Paid subscriptions also rose 40% during the year.

Overall, digital downloads accounted for 34% of the revenue, while streaming won out with 38.3%. Physical sales trailed both at 28.8%.

Jeffrey Nicholas Gennick

March 23, 2016, 12:37 am

I may be just an accountant in training but... Those percents add up to 101.1%....

Hamish Campbell

March 23, 2016, 12:27 pm

Wouldn't profit be a bit more interesting than revenue?

If I produce and ship 17 million records, earning 416 million, but it cost me 200 million,

and I produce and ship (digitally) for 385 earnings, but cost me 85 million....we'll I know which I rather.

I'm just speculating about how much they have to give to vinyl printers, shipping companies and record stores, or how much goes to digitial distribution companies, but it's pretty crucial.

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