It's been 11 and a half years since Apple opened the iTunes Music Store and kickstarted the digital music revolution. Since then the music industry has changed completely. In the first half of 2014, digital music distribution accounted for 69% of U.S. music revenues while CDs, formerly the industry's cash cow, accounted for a meager 23% of music sales.
Marking a milestone in the rise of digital music distribution, music streaming revenues surpassed CD sales for the first time in the United States. That’s according to data published by the Recording Industry Association of America last week [PDF]. Total streaming revenues, including revenues from subscription-based and ad-supported on-demand services as well as non-interactive online radio services, increased 28% year-over-year to reach $860 million. Meanwhile CD sales fell to $719 million and are now only the third largest source of income for the U.S. music industry. Downloads still account for the lion's share of U.S. music revenues. Despite losing some ground to streaming services, downloads generated $1.34 billion in revenue between January and June.
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