Thanks to strong growth in music streaming subscriptions, recorded music revenues in the United States grew from $7.5 billion in 2016 to $8.7 billion last year. According to the year-end report of the Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) this is the first time since 1999 that music revenues have grown significantly for two years in a row, meaning that it’s the first time since the dawn of digital music.
As our chart, based on RIAA data, illustrates, the music industry really has the rise of streaming to thank for its resurgence. While downloads were never quite able to fully offset the declines in CD sales
in the early 2000s, streaming revenues have now been able to compensate for declining physical format and download revenues for two consecutive years.
In 2017, music streaming, both subscription-based and ad-supported, accounted for 65 percent of U.S. music revenues, up from less than 10 percent in 2011. Interestingly, 2017 also marked the first time in several years that physical format sales eclipsed download revenues, which are in steep decline
. Come to think of it, who would pay $10 for a single (digital) album when the same amount gets you access to nearly any album in the world for a month?